My Wonderful Husband This is my wonderful husband, telling our 4 year old, Gracie, goodbye. He left Sep. 4, 2007 for Iraq. I think this picture shows how much our men give up and leave behind. We have 4 children, And the best daddy in the world went to fight for our country. I would have it no other way! ~Proud wife of Ssgt. Wysong

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Sgt. Grit and troops,
I have been reading the news letter and let me tell you, the stories never fail to leave me awed and proud. I wanted to share a story that happened about three weeks ago. My daughter is in a program the goes around and helps out the Elderly, house cleaning, yard work, and just plain visiting. Well, my daughter who is 13, came home from one of her visits to a nearby nursing home and asked me a question that I myself had wondered about.

She said "Dad, can you still fit into your Dress Blues?" Being a good Marine, I said "Of course, but I might need a new belt, why?" A shrug was all I got in response.

About a week later, I was getting the mail and there was a notice that we had a package at the post office. When I got there I was greeted by a Semper Fi from my postman, and handed my package at my request. I was shocked to see it address to my daughter and from Sgt. Grit. Inside was a new Dress Blue belt and a shiny NCO buckle.

If that wasn't surprising enough, my daughters explanation was. She said that a lady at the home that she had visited told her that she really love Marines in Dress Blues. So, that Saturday, I sucked in my gut, got a hair cut, and with pride that I had all but forgotten about, went with my daughter on her visits.

When we got to the nursing home she took me straight to Mrs. Johnsons room. Unfortunately, she wasn't there. My daughter asked the orderly where she was and we were informed that Mrs. Johnson had passed. He said that he had something that she had left for my daughter, He came back with an envelope that said "Sara's Dad".

I opened it up and there was a note and a Marine Corps good conduct medal. The note said "I wanted you to have this because you'll remember. It belonged to my son, he died in Beirut. Semper Fi, Elena Johnson. Lcpl Randall A. Johnson."

I could only think of one thing to do with it, I pinned it on my daughter and told her about Beirut and what had happened to the Marines in the Embassy. She asked why I was giving it to her and I said " So that you'll remember and because you've earned it."

Thanks, Romie

As long as we remember, they will never be forgotten.

Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear.
Harry S Truman (1884 - 1972)

Sgt. Grit,

Six recruits drowned in Ribbon Creek, Parris Island, SC in 1956. I was 13 years old at the time but already a Marine in my heart and mind. I asked my Dad, a WWII Marine veteran of Tarawa and Okinawa, what he thought of SSgt. McKeon and his marching the recruits into the swamp. His answer was that he mourned the loss of the recruits but that he wished that his DI's had spent more time marching him and his buddies into the swamp. He said that this would have better prepared them for the swamps and jungles they encountered on the islands in the Pacific. If they had, more of his friends would have come home with him. He went on to say that I should remember that SSgt. McKeon led his platoon into the swamp putting himself in the same danger.

Nine years later, when I was in RVN chest deep in rice paddies, I also wished my DI's had given us a little swamp time.

Semper Fi,

Jim Gaul, USMC 1962-66 RVN 1965

Dear Sgt Grit,

I am a very proud parent of a LCpl in the 533rd Fighter Squadron of USMC. I also have an adopted son who is a member of the US Air Force. From talking to both of these 2 young men (yes I did say MEN, even though both are under 20) they went through 2 so different styles of life during boot camp. My "adopted" son is still at ABSC or Airman Basic after his 8 weeks of basic training. He told me during one of his several calls home during basic that things were not too bad. You always had time for 8 good hours of sleep, 3 squares a day and still got your training in.

My other son LCpl in the MARINES spent his 13 weeks out at MCRD San Diego. He said during one of his 2 allowed calls home, that you rarely got enough time to eat all your food, you never knew how much time you were going to sleep that night and life was totally H&LL during the day. But he also told us during Boot Camp Graduation that he would not have traded it for anything in the world. Each of the other 700 recruits that graduated that day, he would gladly stand ahead of, beside or behind in any engagement or drill in the world. He knew the training they had and while it was tough, it made them all tough and made them all the MEN they are today.

When talking to both while they were both home last. The 2 totally different styles showed. Our Marine got up each morning, did several (I did not attempt to count) push-ups, sit ups and then went for a 3 mile run each morning. Our Airman got up, had breakfast, did approx 25 pushups, fewer than that of situps and then was very winded after the 3 mile run. While the DI's at MCRD San Diego were very tough and pushed my son to the limits. I can see from 2 sons, that THE MARINE WAY made so much more a man out of my son than did the USAF.

While I do not know my Marines DI's names. I send a sincere thank you to all the DI's at MCRD San Diego for making my LCpl the best he could be.

Semper Fi
Les Luhrsen
Proud Dad of a MARINE

"Freedom had been hunted round the globe; reason was considered as rebellion; and the slavery of fear had made men afraid to think. But such is the irresistible nature of truth, that all it asks, and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing."
-Thomas Paine

Dear Sgt. Grit,

I've been reading your newsletters for a while now. Some letters bring tears and some bring great joy and pride. My son went thru bootcamp back in October of 2006. Two weeks into it, he wondered what the heck he did, but by week 4, things started to settle in as to what was expected from him. I think EVERY kid in America should go thru the Marines bootcamp. I think our society would be way better as a result.

I am darn proud of my son's drill instructors. If it weren't for them, he wouldn't be the man he is today. They do more for our sons and daughters then we will ever know. I wrote them a poem and sent it to my son's SDI upon my son's graduation from Echo Co. Plt 2026 to let him and his team know how GREATLY they are APPRECIATED!

Thank you Drill Instructors

To ALL the Drill Instructors past, present and future....OORAH!

Semper Fi
Darn Proud Mom of LCpl Tyler
MP, 15th MEU

As a Marine Mom I have been reading your newsletters for quite some time now, and loving everyone I read! My son joined the Marines in 2004, as soon as he graduated high school. At first I was scared to death as he went off to bootcamp at Parris Island, but soon became the proudest Mom out there!

I have always been behind his decision to join and never will regret it! He survived bootcamp and came out of there a true man, a MARINE! Went to Lejuene, Pensacola, Fla., Cherry Point, Iwakuni, Japan, New River base in N.C. and is now currently serving in Iraq. He is one dedicated Marine, and takes his earned title very seriously! Ticks him off when others slack off and aren't gung ho!

Anyways, I guess I felt the need to write because I just want to thank you all at Sgt. Grit for being such a wonderful website and posting such a great newsletter! Reading it and buying Marine items lets me feel closer to my Marine at times like this when he is so far from me.

I love all the stories and I love ALL the Marines! I THANK them all, I feel they are ALL my sons and daughters. God bless them all wherever they are! OOORAH! Semper Fi! Thanks again for being there for this very proud Marine Mom of Sgt. Ryan Flohr, USMC.

Char Flohr Akron, Oh.

"The patriot volunteer, fighting for country and his rights, makes the most reliable soldier on earth."
-Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson

Ooohrah Sgt.Grit!
Top of the morning to 'ya. I have been reading your newsletter for some time now and I'm completely amazed at some of the things a "small minority of Americans" write about concerning Boot Camp.

I joined our beloved Corps back in 1965 and have never regretted it for one second. To all the Families out there who have friends or relatives that are fortunate enough to be part of such a fine organization be thankful that The Drill Instructors are hard on recruits. Our saying "The Few, The Proud, The Marines" isn't a phrase made up by individuals that "do just enough to survive in life." It is a slogan originated by Marines, for Marines.

The training they have received or will receive is invaluable and will greatly enhance their chances of survival in combat. Combat---it's what we do and do well! Yes Marines die in combat as does every other branch of the service. But always remember," All men are created equal, but it he that is trained in the severest of schools that survives !"

I served at Recruit Depot, Parris Island, S.C. from 1974-1977 and from 1979-1981. I also served 31 months in Vietnam and I know from experience that I would not have survived had it not been for Marines like SSGT Stokes (my Senior Drill Instructor) or SSGT Sullivan one of my Junior Drill Instructors. Their acceptance of nothing but perfection instilled in me the attitude that if something is worth doing it is worth doing right. And if it wasn't done to their satisfaction then be prepared to suffer the consequences.

In conclusion if your family or friends must fight for freedom in another country at least be Thankful that they are surrounded by Men that will give their all for them without a seconds hesitation. As for the Drill Instructors, hats off to you and keep up the good work. I've always believed in the old adage "Let no man's ghost say that my training let him down!"

Respectfully Submitted
Larry Hatfield
1stSgt United States Marine Corps (ret.)

Sgt Grit,

After our son, Michael got into boot camp at Parris Island I got his mom your "The Few the Proud the Mom's" bumper sticker that I put on her car. Yesterday while she and a friend were shopping she noticed a napkin on the windshield and thought the wind had blown it on it and when it did not fall off as she started out, she stopped and got out and saw that it was under the wiper blade.

When she took it off she noticed a note written on it simply saying "thank you for raising a Hero". That was it for her and when I got home last night she told me this story and again it was all she could do to finish it.

I am glad there are people out there who understand those who choose to defend America and take time to thank the families they come from. We need more like this person and a press that tells the stories.

The Sgt Grit catalog is a high light every time it arrives in the mailbox and the news letter is always a time to stop and pause while it is read from end to end.

Keep up the great work!

Dave & Debbie Sebastian
Proud Parents of a Marine

The Few The Proud The Moms

"There are no hopeless situations; There are only men who have grown hopeless about them." -Clare Boothe Luce

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Sgt Grit & Marines,

I was raised by MSgt. Raymond B. Byars, Drill Instructor (P.I.) and Sgt of Artillery. I went to boot camp in a suit and tie, my head shaved, standing tall and ready to endure whatever happened for the next 16 weeks.

Two days latter I was walking around giggling to myself. I was TOTALLY UNPREPARED... for Navy Boot Camp. At times I could look across the estuary (San Diego) and see some DI going off on some poor recruit. I remember sitting at "rest oars" in our whaleboat one day and one of the other Navy recruits yelled something stupid towards the Marine compound. A DI went off yelling that he was going to have us transferred to his side of the estuary.

At my insistence we got out of there FAST, docked the boat, and started back to the Company Area. I told the guy to NEVER do that again and he just laughed. I almost did brig time behind beating the cr_p out of that idiot.

A year later I was at Field Medical Service School and a certain Sgt. Bermudes was challenged with training myself and 25 other young idiot Corpsmen. I have deep respect for the man, and great pity on him for what he must have gone through trying to teach a ragged a55ed bunch of Corpsmen enough to keep us alive for more than three minutes with the Marines.

Then SSgt. James Little took over babysitting his new Corpsman. I was smart enough to keep my mouth shut about being raised on Marine Corps bases, but not smart enough to keep from showing off once in a while and/or getting mouthy. SSgt. Little let me live anyway.

A certain LCpl Tom Isenberg was somewhat less tolerant, but is still my best friend anyway. My Marines protected me and kept me alive when I got stupid. They were my compatriots, my friends, and the finest group of men I've ever known. James Little died earlier this year, And something very near my heart curled up and died at the same time.

There is no way I can, because of embarrassment and lack of the right words, say how important my Marines are to me, even 40 years later. I can only stand there in envy as they walk on their grinder. I hope that Marines are always trained to their high standards.
Semper Fi my brothers, and God bless and keep you all.

Doc Byars
2nd Plt., E Co., 2/1

Dear Sgt Grit

Brilliant newsletter that always manages to take me back to my Marine experience. I'm an Aussie who emigrated to the United States and enlisted in mid 1975 (MCRD San Diego Plt 1082). If anyone was ever going to stand out in my recruit platoon for special attention from the DIs it was the guy with the crazy Australian accent!

Did I hate it? Of course I did! Did I love it? Of course I did! After finishing boot I did a couple of months as a recruiter's aide in the San Fernando Valley and was then accepted as a member of Charlie Company, 1st Recon Bn until 1977 when injury cut short my career.

Back in Australia all these years later I look back at the time we spent in the pit or the unending times we spent doing bends and thrusts (usually til the DI got tired). Our DIs really pushed the envelope on more than one occasion and for those times when I learned more and more about myself and my capabilities I'll remain eternally grateful.

To those parents who worry that their children might encounter DIs whose behavior is extreme and who may occasionally go beyond what you're used to seeing in the civilian world I say only this - your son or daughter has chosen to take on the challenge of becoming one of the finest warriors that mankind has produced. That process bears no resemblance to normal civilian life and nor should it.

The recruit training process has been honed by over 200 years of experience and it works. Trust it, trust your child to survive it, and most of all trust the incredible Marines who carry the title of Drill Instructor to ensure your son or daughter succeeds in overcoming the greatest challenge they will ever face in life.

Semper Fi

"Casualties: many, Percentage of dead: not known, Combat efficiency: we are winning."
--Colonel David M. Shoup, USMC, MOH, (later Commandant) Tarawa, 21 November 1943.

I guess I have been living in a cave for a while. I was not aware of all the hoopla surrounding MARINE Boot Camp and the "alleged" mistreatment of recruits. I will not get into my stories of Boot Camp. Suffice it to say that I graduated in 1969 Plt. 3399 PISC, and my SDI was GySgt. Hartmann reincarnated.

My son is attending the University of PI as I write this and I am as proud a father as there ever was. To all those who complain that Boot Camp is too tough, too stressful, too demeaning, the latest MARINE commercials say it all; "We Don't Accept Applications...We Accept COMMITMENTS!".

Just like a TV show that offends you, no one forced you to join up. Don't like it...Don't join. There is 100,000,000 more information about what to expect now than when I joined. If you don't avail yourself of that knowledge, then you have no one to blame but yourself. Semper Fi

Jim Wolter
Proud father of one MARINE and soon to be a second.

Dearest Gramma

I am only a Marine who served in the 1960's but in regard to your letter to Grit I must say that: Semper-Fidelis, or Semper -Fi means ALWAYS FAITHFUL which all Marines are both past and present. I am not writing this to mean anything against you, only that I think it is great for you to ask the meaning. Not everyone knows what it means to be a Marine.

I hope you get MANY answers to your question for it is the proudest moment of any Marine to give the answer to that question. God Bless you and your Marine to be.

Will P.
Sgt. Marines 1966 - 1968

I am a 24 year old female who has several friends in the Corps and I have come to really love what the Corps stands for. I have always been patriotic and intrigued with the military. Since I started dating a Marine 3 yrs ago, I quickly became in tuned to the ways of the Corps and developed great respect for these men and women who serve.

I have been contemplating joining now for a year. Some say that women don't belong in the military much less the Corps because it is much more hard core than the other branches. Hearing that ticks me off and motivates me more to be able to prove em all wrong! I'm just wondering what people's opinions are of women in the Corps. Mothers, how would you feel if your daughter wanted to join? Any women Marines out there...any tips/advice for joining and surviving? Any comments are greatly appreciated. Please send them to Thanks

Dear Sgt. Grit!

I did my best as well in 1971, on my way home to Dayton through Tenn. I saw an elderly lady alongside the road on I-75 south just outside the corporate limits of Lafollette (where my step- dad was born) with a flat tire.

I was alone, on my way to my overseas billet (I can't reveal due to security reasons still in effect), and decided to help change her flat.

I was lucky, she had all the parts and her spare was good and full of air. In 20 min. flat I had her fixed and ready to go. She approached me to hand me a $20 bill and I said, " ..that's okay ma'am, I'm happy to help, just remember it was a United States Marine that stopped to help you"...and I walked to my 1971 Chevy Chevelle and went on to Iwakuni!

Semper Fi!

Sgt. Greg O'Hara

"The safest place in Korea was right behind a platoon of Marines. Lord, how they could fight."
Major General Frank E. Lowe, US Army

One goes through life after active duty with the impression that being a MARINE is a special experience in your life only...The American Courage Newsletter I just got in my e-mail did a world of good in realizing how special my brothers and sisters of the EGA society also view their own special feelings of life change, enduring pride and lasting dedication that makes us all walk a little taller than most.....still e-mail my old friend from early 60's when we were E-4's together.

God bless Richard E. Chapa, former Captain USMC.

To the MARINE chosen for the silent drill team at 8Th&I this is an honor to represent the CORP. It is like standing guard at the tomb of the unknown. Take pride that you were asked to be a member of this elite group, as all of us can not. You are representing all MARINES past and present be proud, as we are of you.

Cpl. Joe Mowry

been reading the letters from moms of Marines and former Marines for some time now, I served from 57 to 68 and would like to make a comment about those who say that DI,s are too hard on recruits. I spent 16 weeks in boot at SDMcrd and I thank my drill instructors Staff Sgt Bordee, Sgt Sarigo and Clp Callwhite for making me a man and a Marine. Hadn,t been for them, I wouldn,t have survived my tour in Nam To those who say its too rough, I say if they can,t make it there, than I don,t want them on the line watching my 6. Semper Fi to all my brother,s in the Corps may god watch over you and keep you safe and bring you home in one piece. I salute you all Former Marine but still Corps till the end. S sgt Wilson retired

Thank,s Reno

My name is Chris Madsen. In 1959 I joined the United States Marine Corps. I proudly wore the Eagle, Globe, and Anchor until 1974, and will always bear the title of "United States Marine".

On 12 September 2007, at noon, I went to the attendance office of Carl Wunsche Sr. High School, in Spring ISD, Spring Texas to sign my grand daughter out. ( I am her guardian.). When asked, I told the attendance lady, she would be back Monday, that she was going with me to San Diego to see my grandson become a Marine. On leaving she made a comment "I would be hearing from the D.A."

On September 14, 2007, my grandson finished 13 weeks of boot camp at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, and earned the title of "Marine". For those who are unfamiliar with traditions and ritual of the Marine Corps family, earning the Eagle, Globe and Anchor can be likened to 1st communion for a Catholic family, or a Bar Mitzvah for a Jewish family. Pomp and circumstance is foremost and it is time for a family to celebrate a boy becoming a man.

On Thursday, September 13, over two thousand proud parents, families, and friends watched close to 900 young men be given and Eagle, Globe, and Anchor to secure to there caps for the first time. For the last 13 weeks of grueling boot camp they had been recruits. Finally they were given the right to wear the Eagle, Globe, and Anchor. While many family members cried, coincidentally the wind blew up just enough for many combat veterans to get something in their eyes that needed wiping away. We then got to spend the next four hours on base with our loved ones. (Base liberty as it is called.)

On Friday, once again the band played, the Marines did a pass in review, honors were given, and the outstanding boots were recognized. The Commanding Officer gave a brief talk to the young Marines, and they were dismissed. You can not imagine how proud I was of PFC John Scott!

And a new group of 900 young Marines started the journey of becoming part of the most respected warriors in modern history.

On October 12, I received the following:

"RE: The State of Texas
Chris Madsen

The referenced person, was charged on 9/14/07 with violation(s) of Texas Law to Wit; Parent Contributing to Nonattendance

In accordance with the aforementioned provision, you are hereby notified to appear with your child on Tuesday, November 06, 2007 at 01:01 p.m."

Note the time 01:01P.M.

She is going to have to miss half a day of school for this ?????

Do I as a parent / guardian of a child have no right to say what is important for my child??

Skye is a high-school junior at Wunsche Academy. She is taking four honors classes and three regular classes. Her report card for the first six weeks was all A's and B's. (3 A's 4 B's.) They are issued laptop computers, and all of their homework is assigned via the internet on a program called "blackboard".

(She has also been sited for truancy.) There is definitely something wrong with our system, when I see all these kids running around the malls and streets, playing "hooky" and we have to go to court for participating in a rite of passage. But....this is what we fight and die to protect.

As I sit here and read my current newsletter, I'm reminded of a conversation the I had with my dad before he passed away. Now, Dad was Navy but my son is Marine.

My son had called, one evening to inform us that he would be going to Iraq for the first time. Well, mom here not thinking didn't take it well to say the least and let her son know it. Shortly after this telephone call, my son called his grandfather (my dad), he proceeded to tell my dad about the phone call and my reactions to his news.

Later that night, I received a phone call from my father.. Let me tell you.. Did I get told about it... Dad said "Now, Sheri, I understand that you are upset about what is going on but did you ever stop to think about what you are doing and how it is affecting your son? I told him no.

Dad then told me this statement "You have no right to let your son know how you are feeling as he is now a "Marine" who is preparing to go to war. YOU no longer have the luxury to tell him how YOU feel. YOU have to keep his head in the game from this time on.

WOW, Talk about a wake up call. Anyway this conversation happened almost 4 years ago and now 3 deployment later. Dad has since passed away and has had the duty of watching over his grandson. I have since learned to never let my son know that I had tears in my eyes, or was upset in anyway all due to "words of wisdom from a former Navy man.

VPMM Of Sgt. Josh
Soon to be home.

Semper Fidelis Rose Tattoo I have wanted a tattoo for over 10 years. After being married to my Marine for almost 9 years now, I was finally able to get one. I wanted to share it with you.

Cathy Penyak

Dear Sgt. Grit

I don't write letters but I see the ones you get now concerning boot camp from mothers of young Marines.

Tell them not to worry. When I joined in 1954 we were treated worse than animals but as time went by everything got better and better. Not perfect, but better.

And you know what? I came out a better person. I look back now more then 50 years ago that I joined and it was not that bad. I would do it again. If I could go to Iraq and help my family of Marines, believe me, I would be there.

Parents just pray.

Gy/Sgt Bonifacio Luna
GungHo SemperFi
Oohrah and all the rest

A Tattoo for My Love My name is Amie Holloway, widow of Matthew Holloway, KIA Jan 13 of 05. I started this tattoo on his birthday the year I lost him. We were married only 9 months, I was 20 years old. He was a Marine through and through. The middle flower started it all, it is a Orchid with a Gold Star in the center. The Star Gazer Lilly's were added on our 1 year Anniversary, they are the flowers Matt always gave me..The Hibiscus is from a plant I got that I call my "Matt Plant". The Plumeria flowers are for when I went to Hawaii to stay with a good friend in 2005, who I also just lost Aug. 2007 in Iraq. The playing card is when I went to Vegas with my family for my 21st birthday, 10 moths after I lost Matt...

All together it has been 14 hours for this tattoo. I will slowly add more to it as the years go by and as I do more things without him. I am so proud of my Marine.
Amie Holloway

Sgt. Grit,

Let me start by saying that I do appreciate your newsletter each month. I find the submissions to be inspiring. I have heard about the "time out cards" for recruits in basic training. I did my 13 weeks of H&ll back in 1989 at MCRD San Diego. That in itself was a life changing experience. When I was in high school I didn't have much desire to do much with my life except party and spread my pollen. However one day I woke up and realized that my life was nothing and that I needed to do something with it.

Well one day after partying hard, I decided to go to Norman, to the strip mall that housed all the recruiters. I wanted to stay away from the Corps, only because my Dad is a Marine, I won't say former Marine because there is no such thing. Once a Marine Always a Marine. I went to the Air Force, they really didn't offer me anything good, went to the Navy, well couldn't see myself being called seaman, went to the Army was to confident in the so called job duties that I was able to get, then as I was leaving the mall I felt something tug at me and pushed me into the seat that was in front of Sgt. Clause. I sat with him and we talked about the Corps and what the Corps could do for me.

So needless to say that I decided to take the ASVAB at MEPS OKC, and I was sworn in. I didn't tell my dad until 2 weeks prior to my ship date. I shipped out on 13 February 1989 from OKC to San Diego. I remember my dad was a bit worried that my mouth would get the best of me, well truth be told, I was scared. I remember in receiving the DI's were all in our faces and I do mean up in our faces, they got physical when they deemed it was necessary.

I have no regrets of my decision, I look at the Corps as saving what was left of me as a person and my life. The Corps taught me a lot about how I am. I was once a person that gave up, that would never finish anything and one that lacked discipline. Well I am a new person because of the Corps. I use everything that I learned in my endeavors today.

Unfortunately due to a severe injury to both my lower legs, my Corps Career was cut short, however I don't let that bother me. I know that if I was given the opportunity to do it again, there would be no hesitation. Why you may ask? Because I am first and far most a Marine. Yes I am married now with a beautiful family, but she knows that I cannot put the Marine out of me.

Now to all the Devil Dogs and their families, let me say thank you for your sacrifice, thank you for putting yourself in harm's way and carrying on the tradition of the Corps. To the families of these brave warriors and warriors to be, Thank you for your sacrifice and allowing your loved one to serve the Nation's finest. I am proud to see how supportive families have become for their Marine.

Do I tear up when I read the newsletters, I would be lying if I said No. Truth be told, I do tear up. This war we are fighting on terror has hit very close to my heart with the loss of a Devil Dog that I had the honor of knowing. To his family I just want you to know that you are always in my thoughts.

I know it's hard to have you loved one go off to boot camp of the toughest branch know to man, but when you think about it, what other branch will take a boy/girl and turn him/her into a man/woman and allow him/her to become part of bother/sister hood unlike any other? I sometimes will go and talk with the Pollees to let them know what to expect and to inspire them to do their best and not give up but give a chance.

And now I want to say thanks to all Veterans regardless of the branch. You made the sacrifice just like the rest of us, yea we may give each other a hard time about the branch of service and try and see which is the toughest, but at the end of the day when you are in the bush, branches doesn't matter, it's getting home alive.

Take care and Happy Birthday you Jarheads.....SEMPER FI!

Melvin Knight USMC 1989

Greetings Sgt. Grit!
I was reading the newsletters weighing in on the treatment of Recruits during Boot Camp. My son graduated MCRD San Diego May 13, 2005. That was surely one of the proudest days of my life!

What a sight to behold, all those young men marching in perfect unison. After that spectacular ceremony, we had the privilege of meeting the Drill Instructors for my son's Platoon. I have to tell you that upon meeting the Senior D.I. he immediately commended my husband and I upon raising such a fine young man. Well according to my son, the D.I.'s do not just hand out compliments. They are NOT prone to sugarcoating anything for the benefit of anybody.

My son told us many stories of Boot Camp and how he needed some physical and verbal "encouragement" from time to time. Needless to say I was a little concerned until my son put it in plain perspective. He said "Mom do you really think the enemy is gonna baby us if they get ahold of us? Trust me, they are gonna do alot more than say a few curse words or give us baby taps to "encourage" us!"

Now 21 years old, my son has been to Iraq and back and on his way again in less than 6 months. I am fully confident that from his first day of Boot until he comes home from the next deployment, he has had the best training and that is what will bring him home.

Those D.I.s most definitely made a man out of my son! I will be forever grateful to them for that. They are the reason for him having grown into a confident, able Marine. God Bless America & the United States Marine Corp!

Tommie Z.
s Proud Marine Mom to Cpl. R Zuniga HMLA 367

Proud "MOM" Of A U.S. Marine

Sgt, Grit,
First, some background. I joined the Marine Corps in Jan., 1950 and went through the recruit training that was standard at that time. From an out of work high school kid, I became a Marine in April, 1950. Then, to Camp Joe, (Pendleton to those that don't know) in an art'y battery and Comm School.

June 25, the Korean war started. July 4, there was a Division parade and during the this, one of the speakers said that we were going to Japan for "further training." What a lot of speculation this started. After the parade, we went back to the barracks and were told to start packing our gear.

In a few days the school was ended and I was involved in the packing of the gear that an art'y battery takes with them. Tons of stuff, most of which I knew nothing about. July 14, we shipped out of San Diego on the Pickaway, Clymer, and the Henrico. Thanks, Navy for the ride. Before we got to Japan, we were directed to Pusan, Korea, landing there on Aug. 2, I think. Long story short, hit somewhere, maybe around the Naktong, not bad. We joined the 1st Mar Div in the landing at Inchon, Seoul, and then to Chosin, MacArthurs greatest screwup. Another hit, evacced to Japan and a few months recovery.

Then, to Mare Island Naval Shipyard and some Guard Duty. Promotion to Corp. and the Sgt. Pretty good duty. Then came the word that I was being transferred to MCRD, San Diego, as a Drill Instructor. D.I. School and then my first Plt. The first thing I noticed when down there were the Coke machines next to the barracks. ?What has this place come to? I worked my first Plt. much as I had been through in Boot Camp. We got out to the rifle range and went through some "skirmishers" at night. My Plt. got into a fight with another and everyone split. Roll call showed some had gone back to the tents but, one had gone to Sick Bay. I went there as he was coming out. He had run into a barb wire fence and had some stitches in his lip. The next day I was on "30 day investigation." No duties, every night liberty. No charges were filed. We were getting a lot of draftees, most of which didn't want to be Marines or anything else. More long story short: About one and a half years and several Plt's. and more charges, most of which were crap, I eventually ended up a Pfc. in Guard Co.

Over the years, I have been to a couple of Boot Camp Graduations as a member of The Chosin Few. From what I have seen there, today's Marines are just as good as those of 1950, maybe even better.

To you MOMS, your boys are becoming MEN! You will always love them and they will always love you and the Marine Corps!

Aquila non capit muscas......An eagle does not catch flies
Semper Fi,
Monte Norton

My Granddaughter and her husband are both Medics in the U.S. Army. They are shipping out to Iraq in less then two weeks. Please pray for them.
Thank you

Sgt. Grit,
I would like to comment on all the boot camp hubbub. My son went to MCRDSD a little over 2 years ago and each and every letter we got reassured me, a worried mom, that things were going well. Sure it was tough but what do you expect, it's the Marines. He said it wasn't has hard as he thought it would be and he actually enjoyed most of it.

He went in a boy and came out a man and he has continued to grow and mature as a disciplined Marine. He is still the same fun loving guy as he was before MCRDSD when it is appropriate, but he knows when it's time to step up and be a man, a Marine.

If you don't want to be taught how to be a Marine and be toughened up then don't sign up. I don't think there is any other branch of the military that puts themselves out there like the Marines do and you sure wouldn't want some wimpy mamma's boy watching your back in combat.

Marines are made to be tough because the job they do is tough. God Bless each and everyone of them for the job they do continuously to assure the freedom of the U.S.A.

Proud Marine Mom in Illinois

"There are only two kinds of people that understand Marines: the Marines and the enemy. Everyone else has a secondhand opinion."
Gen. William Thornson, US Army

First and foremost thank you to all the Marines, old and new and those in between. On October 6, 2007 a female relative of my husband was getting married in northern Wisconsin. My husband. who is active duty currently, wore his blues because he said he didn't need a d%$# tuxedo.

When my husband changed into his blues, I will never forget the look on his mother's face. She had never seen him in his blues. His father just stared at him, it was like he was seeing his little boy change right before him. When we arrived at the church for the wedding, his aunt ran up to him and just hugged him so hard his face turned red and his grandparents looked very proud.

Everyone in his family walked around proudly as if saying "this is our Marine." The groom who was standing outside did not even bother to say hi, neither did his relatives, not that it mattered. What bothered me is that they just looked at my husband like he had gone to the wrong place. We didn't care.

After mass we went to a local McDonald's for some food. It was crowded and my husband, his sister and I went in, everyone just stared. As we stood waiting for our food, a nice couple who was in the back got up and walked up to my husband and said "Thank you for serving our country" and they both shook his hand. I felt so proud, I got a knot in my throat. His sister looked at him and smiled.

Later that day while looking for the reception hall we got lost. As we were driving west, we spotted an old man on a horse just standing at T intersection, my mother-in-law rolled down her window and the old man said "Hey Marine, Oohrah!" he gave us directions and when we turned around to go back as we got close to the intersection where he'd been, we noticed he was gone. We looked everywhere for him, but it was like he'd disappeared. Maybe it was a sign, I don't know. What I do know is that people like that couple make my husband proud to be a United States Marine.

Very Proud Marine Wife

I served in the Marine Corps from 1962 to 1965. I was in Guantanamo Bay when President Kennedy was assassinated. I served nine months on a Med Cruise. I was seventeen when I enlisted.

Since that time I have spent thirty-two years as a police officer. I am a member of the Patriot Guard Riders, and the Vietnam Riders Group. I would take nothing for the training I received at Parris Island and because of that training I was able to survive all these years as a police officer.

I ride a motorcycle and have been on several escorts for soldiers funerals who were killed in Iraq as well as escorts for troops welcome home from Iraq. I am sixty-two now and have just retired from law enforcement with, but will continue to support our troops in what ever way I can because without them freedom would only be a word.

My thoughts and prayers are with every service person from every branch of the military and their families. May God bless them and America. You are all a very special breed
Al Mauro U.S.M.C
Retired deputy Sheriff

Dear Sgt Grit,

As I'm reading the letters from Marines and Marine moms, I am so amazed at this family, and I'm so honored and proud to be a part of it.

Yesterday I went to my local post office before work to mail care package #7 for this week. When I pulled into the parking lot, I saw a light blue Nissan with a Marine sticker in the back window, and it was a "Proud Parent of a US Marine" sticker.

I looked in the post office and only saw one person, who was obviously not a Marine Parent (purple hair and multiple piercings), so I looked back out in the corridor where there is a bulletin board sort of mess. There was a woman probably about my age reading the stuff posted there, so I asked "Is that your little blue Nissan out there?"
"Yes" she said.
"Are you the proud parent of a United States Marine?" I asked, and she positively glowed and said "Yes I am".
I told her I was also a Marine mom, and well of course there was just the instant bond. I said "We are very proud aren't we?" and she said she got goosebumps from that!
She, like me, is in awe of this Marine family, which the very thought of makes me cry even as I am writing this to you. How can this tight knit group of people be so like minded and love each other simply because of this Marine Corps connection? I don't understand it, but I'm absolutely so enraptured to be a part of it.
This other mom, Maria, is also amazed. She told me that any time she's pulled over to the side of the road, for any reason, any where, another Marine has stopped to make sure everything is okay. She said even though her son is now home and out of the Marines, she will never take the sticker off her back window, and we agreed that no matter what, we will always be Marine Moms (I also have a nice collection of Marine pride on the back of my vehicle).

When I read the thoughts expressed by other Moms and Marines, my pride in this family just increases. Those who are not a part, cannot comprehend, and for them I feel sorry.

To all who ARE Marines, I am forever grateful for your Honor, Courage and Commitment and service to our country. To the parents, especially the Moms, I applaud you for raising such fine young men and women that have the courage to become Marines. And to all, thank you for the pride, strength and faith in this country I can count on finding here.

"Once a Marine Mom, Always a Marine Mom"

"I have only two men out of my company and 20 out of some other company. We need support, but it is almost suicide to try to get it here as we are swept by machine gun fire and a constant barrage is on us. I have no one on my left and only a few on my right. I will hold."

--1st. Lt. Clifton B. Cates, MOH, (later Commandant), USMC, July 19, 1918 commanding 96 Company, 6th Marines, near the French town of Soissons.

I have been reading and weeping over the newsletter sent out on the 18th. It is heartwarming to know that many other Marine Moms feel as I felt when my Marine was in boot camp. It is because boot camp is tough that my Marine was able to survive two tours in Iraq. It saddens me to know there are moms out there who will stand up and say be easy on my son!

It is apparent that most moms feel as I do that the DI's need to be tough, need to come down hard, need to train our Marines to be tough, be hard and come out alive. I was not thrilled when my son joined when he was 18, BUT, I never once wavered, never once expected boot camp to be a day camp.

I was not thrilled to learn he would be serving in Iraq just a short time after he finished boot camp and school, but I never once wavered of being so very proud of my son. I have stood by him from day one, will continue to stand behind him and any other Marine that has served or is presently serving. My son's dad was a career Navy Corpsman, and he has stood behind his son.

I agree with most of the moms letters I have read today, do we really want those boys in our Marine Corp who whine that boot camp is too tough? Not me! Keep it UP MOM's! Stay strong, stay proud, stay behind them 100% regardless!

Debbie Hope
Proud Mom of LCPL Gil Travis,
United States Marine Corp

Sgt. Grit,

Thank you once again for all the great products and outstanding service. I'll be placing another order in a few weeks. I would like to share two stories that I recently experienced. bumper sticker

The first one happened about 3 months ago. I was called and told that my work scheduled had changed and would be required to travel over 300 miles and work for 3 days, beginning the next day, then return back home. I've traveled for work before but usually not on such short notice. I really wasn't looking forward to it, but just like being on active duty, you do what you have to do and deal with it. bumper sticker

(Note: I have the following 5 USMC bumper stickers from you on my vehicle: God Bless The Marine Corp; All Men Are Created Equal, Then Some Become Marines; Stop Global Whining; Except for ending slavery, Fascism, Nazism, and Communism, WAR has never solved anything; and It's not an attitude problem, We Are That Good!) bumper sticker

Once I got everything together and had started the drive, and not being in a great mood, I started to reflect on the stupidity of my supervisor which only made my mood worse! About 20 minutes into the drive a van pulled by in the left lane of the interstate and the Gentleman in the passenger's seat looked over and gave a wave in a friendly manner. I smiled and gave a wave back. As the van passed by I notice a circular Marine Corp sticker on the back window. I'd venture to say my Corp brother that waved at me was of the Korean War era age. That simple wave really encouraged me and changed my mood right away. Sometimes simple little things can make a big difference.

bumper sticker The second one happened about 2 months ago. I ordered a few things from your company including the t-shirt, #TS712, THE OLD BREED 1st Division. I ordered it specifically to give to a brother Marine, and co-worker, long since retired that served during Viet Nam in the 1st Marine Division. I don't know who felt better, him for receiving it or me for giving it to him! It was definitely a joy to give him a small token of appreciation!

bumper sticker He wore the t-shirt that weekend, or the following one, to his brother's place, his brother was in the army in Nam, and said that his brother was impressed and admired the shirt greatly. My friend/co-worker told me in the past that he was called names, like baby killer, upon his return from VN and I hope that this little gift may have helped erase some of that distasteful experience from back then. As the motto of the 1st Division says, "No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy." It's great to help a Brother and friend, and know that help is there as well. t-shirt

Thank you again for the great products and service including the news letters. My next order I plan on including a gift for an active duty Brother or Sister through your Adopt-A-Marine program. God bless you Sgt. Grit, the Marine Corp and all past- present-future Marines.

Semper Fi,
Rodney Noll
Cpl 85-89

"I have not yet begun to fight!"

-- John Paul Jones (response to enemy demand to surrender,
23 September 1779)

In response to Marine Mom, B. Lee

All of us who are Marines can understand your son's disappointment about being assigned out of boot camp and infantry training to the Silent Drill Team at Marine Barracks, Washington D.C. instead of a unit deploying to Iraq. However, the Silent Drill Team is a prestigious assignment and in their travels around the country, their vital to the Marine Corps' public relations and recruiting effort. Tell him that and also that the he's where the Marine Corps need him at this time. At some point in his enlistment, it's likely he'll deploy overseas to Iraq, Afghanistan or some other hot spot in the world. Tell him to be patient and motivated, and he'll do just fine. God bless him, you and your family for serving our nation.

Dave Marvin
Major, USMC-Retired
(active duty, 1968 - 1998; Vietnam, 1969)

To C. Taylor...New Recruits Mom....Oorah!
I'm glad to know another genuine Momma Dawg!
You're perspective will help you as well as your son.

My son re-enlisted within the last few days. He's done two tours of combat on foreign soil and has (by the mercies of God) come back alive and with no injuries...because he wasn't babied by the Corps or by his family...but mostly because of GOD/PRAYER!

Welcome to the family!
Your sister Momma Dawg.
~I may look harmless, but I raised a U.S. Marine!~

I am the mother of 2 U.S.Marines. They have both finished their 4 years active and are now doing their 4 years IRR. When my youngest told me that he had joined I was scared and that was before 9/11. I had no idea what he was going through. His letters told me about some of it. While he was at PI my oldest joined.

Yes, the DI's are hard on them but I wouldn't want it any other way. They made men out of my boys and I thank them for that. They both came home safe from Iraq and that is because of the training they had at PI. I know the DI's will continue to be hard on the men and women there and that is a good thing.

One story I always remember from when my youngest son was there is this. They had been training somewhere and when they got off the bus he was running back to the barracks and stop on a dime. He had forgotten his rifle on the bus. He ran back hoping that no one had found it. As he started up the stairs one of his DI's was coming out with his rifle. His first thought was "OH S***" Well he never forget it again!

I am thankful that he never forgot it while he was in Iraq. Yes he suffered for forgetting it but I would rather have him suffer at PI than get shot in Iraq. Thank you DI for punishing him when you did! When your sons and daughters come home from Iraq safe you will thank the DI's for training them to be the best.

Debbie Bailey
VPMMO CPL Rick and CPL Mike, IRR

i would like to thank you for having a news letter. i remember when my son was little all we did was play military at the time i wasn't sure what branch he was going in but from the time he was born we called him our little tank.

he is the youngest of 3 boy's and his brother are so very proud of there brother . bootcamp was the tuff time for me i guess i was just a normal mom worrying about things i couldn't see or help with just being there if they needed a hug or just to talk but we all made it and when i saw my Marine really for the first time i think i just about bust, god and yes i feel saying god is ok he looked great, sure of him self and lean and proud it was super. what they do for them i think they shouldn't stop because these Marines being trained take care of our nation we would not want just anybody doing there job i don't know many average joe's out there that could do what they do .yes i am a very proud mom of a Marine and i tell the world i'm not ashamed of what my son is doing for me and our country. what i don't understand is what is wrong with people who speak against the military or these phony out there i guess i was raised different and raised my boy's they same way to go after what you want grasp it and then do it .my son now is in iraq for the fist time and we email and get calls every know and then but i know that he is highly trained and very good at what he does he went into the Marines right after high school and when he got out of bootcamp said before i go to iraq i will be a corporal and the day he step on the plane to leave he called and said mom what did i tell you a long time ago he said i'd be a corporal before i left and i made it he's only been a Marine for almost 3 years and he is reupping while he is there . he is going to be dad for the first time this jan and his wonderful wife is standing behind him 100% like the rest of the family we are all proud of the other Marines that our there too, we send letters and cards to others and care package to Marines we don't even know but that ok we should as american's take care of those who are taking care of us, no mater how small it is on our part we all feel very strong about doing something . to all mom's out there just keep the faith . i cry sometimes and get mad i watch the news, write letters, work everday and pray every night for my son and other son,s and daughters out there . We Should TAKE PRIDE In What They Are Doing For OUR COUNTRY and NEVER BACK DOWN . sorry i just get upset when i read things that knock down Marines or parents of Marines. i just wanted to really thank you for all you do i love your newsletter . i email it to my son so he can read it to thanks again. mom of a Marine and proud of it
mrs. lori mitchell

Dear Sgt Grit,

First , I want to thank you for your newsletters. They are inspiring, uplifting, sometimes sad, and truthful.

I would like to address a couple of topics. The first concerns Marine Corps boot camp. My son graduated MCRD San Diego June 15, 2007. There were no stress cards or time outs. The training he received, I believe, was outstanding. He and his company were held to high standards by the Drill Instructors and, as a squad leader, my son spent a lot of time "in the pit" getting PT'd for others mistakes and lack of motivation. He said sometimes there would be 6 Drill Instructors yelling at one recruit. I know many other examples that point to boot camp as a serious, tough, disciplined environment. I am GRATEFUL it is this way. We certainly do not want a military filled with wimps! I wish I could go through boot camp! Nothing wrong with a heavy dose of discipline, physical training, and manners.

Secondly, I would like to comment to Marine Mom B. Lee, whose son was chosen for silent drill team, but wanted to go to Iraq.

I would say to your son that God has a destiny for him and it is not to go fight right now. To be on the silent drill team is a great honor and he should feel pride to be selected for this. Obviously, the Marine Corps saw something in him they felt would fit with silent drill. If his destiny is to go to Iraq and fight then it will be fulfilled in due time. My son was selected for Presidential Guard. I know he wants to go fight with his Marine brothers, but has acce