My son is a Marine stationed at Cherry Point, NC..His unit is in Iraq now, but he had to stay back for shoulder surgery and is doing good. A funny story he told when he went to Iraq 2 years ago, was that he was on a flight line where he was a embarker. He said the Iraqi men take American names so that the solders can say their names and it is not the long Iraqi names to remember.

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Neal said there was one Iraqi guy that he was friends with, that the guy wanted to listen to American music and Neal put speakers in the flight line office so the guy could listen and he would dance to it..and the guy ask Neal for his American name. The guys only knew him by LCPL Garrett and Neal told him that his first name was Neal...and the guy said MY American Name Neal... how do you leave someone like that...I told him now he has a legacy in Iraq... I cried..that was so sweet that Neal had made such an impression on an Iraqi person...just think how much our wonderful Country has made on Iraq, and all the military many stories we could hear like this...I love the Marines and what they have done to and for my son...

Shelia M. Garrett

I just wanted to add my sentiments as far as being a Proud Mother of a Marine! My son is PFC Nathan Zupan, Gulf Co., currently stationed at Pendleton. Everyday, I find time to say a prayer for my son and all of the other service men and women who proudly and without reservation or question, serve our great nation. I think what the "radicals" of this nation forget, is that there is no draft and these young men and women have volunteered to serve because of their passion and commitment to our freedoms.

I have a Sgt. Grit bumper sticker that reads, It can't always be someone else's son" and one that reads, "My Marine can pick off your honor student at a click and a half."

It can't always be someone else's son. Bumper Sticker My Marine can pick off your honor student at a click and a half. Over the last couple of years the reaction to both of the decals has been mixed. I have been cursed at and flipped off, and I have been thanked for my son's service and dedication. I didn't put the decals on to brag, just to remind all of those who would rather forget and stick their heads in the sand, this is a proud and free nation.... because there continues to be young men and women who choose to continue to do whatever it takes to keep us safe and free.

There will always be people of other nations, cultures, and beliefs that will try to diminish our nation and its freedoms, to all parents of any and all servicemen and women, past, present and future...thank you!

May your sons and daughters stay safe and have the chance to raise future generations of more proud and selfless and FREE Americans.

PS - We are anxiously awaiting the arrival of a new jar head in May! OOH-RAY

Paula Zupan

"Let the American youth never forget, that they possess a noble inheritance, bought by the toils, and sufferings, and blood of their ancestors; and capacity, if wisely improved, and faithfully guarded, of transmitting to their latest posterity all the substantial blessings of life, the peaceful enjoyment of liberty, property, religion, and independence."
Joseph Story - 1833

Sgt. Grit, I was just reading through your newsletter and thought I'd drop a note. Isn't it wonderful how our Marines can fairly often speak to us while deployed? My son who was in Iraq several years ago spoke to us several times a month and sent E- mail too. We loved hearing from him in real time. My father in law was in the Pacific during the big war and his family didn't hear from him for weeks at a time and then only through letters. I was at MCAS Kaneohe in '61 and '62 and we used the HAM radio shack for calls home. Had to say "Over" each time you finished a sentence. I always took several minutes to get the civilians on the other end to understand how to expedite the conversation. Anyway, I think this new bunch of jarheads has every bit as much reason to be proud of themselves and our Corps.

God bless them all and Chesty too
John G. Clark

Hello, this is my first time to write but I just wanted to let y'all know how much your stories mean to me! My son, LCpl. Billy Shannon, he is a new Marine. He will be in a year in June 08. I had to sign for him to be able to go in @ 17 because that is what he always wanted to do. I support him with all that I am. He will be doing his first tour sometime this summer. It helps to know that I others that I can listen to there stories and give myself the strength to keep going.
Thank You,
A New Marine Mom from Texas

"I love a dog. He does nothing for political reasons."
Will Rogers

Sgt Grit,

I have to let people know that it was Josh Gracin who sang the National Anthem at the Nascar Race. He is a Marine and was stationed in San Diego for a while with my son. He did a wonderful job and made us all proud!

Proud Marine Mom,
Donna Zazzali

Gulfport Man Accused of Faking Medals
April 03, 2008
The Sun Herald

Federal officials arrested a Gulfport man Tuesday for allegedly making false claims about serving in Vietnam and receiving a Purple Heart.

Frank Thayer, 59, is the third area man in a week to be arrested and charged with lying about military service and honors.

In an affidavit, Thayer admitted to Veterans Affairs special investigators that in spite of owning a Purple Heart medal with ribbon, a Bronze Star with ribbon, an Army ring, commander's pilot wings, seemingly official documents and clothing bearing Purple Heart patches, he had never served in the military nor received any medals. He said he bought the medals at a military surplus store.

Thayer admitted creating a motivational DVD celebrating his service that he sold to civic organizations. He told a former girlfriend all his military papers were destroyed by Katrina.

"He was tricking everybody. It's just an insult to true military veterans. It's an assault on them," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Ruth Morgan, the Gulfport-based prosecutor of the case.

Thayer was released on $25,000 unsecured bond. He faces multiple charges, and could receive up to 6 months in prison and fines of $5,000 per violation, said Morgan.

Last Tuesday, Christopher Billeaud, 52, of Gulfport, and John Wayne Lebo, 57, of Tylertown were arrested on charges of lying about receiving Purple Hearts and other military medals. Billeaud's wife spoke on his behalf in an interview last week, denying all charges.

Special Agent John R. Ramsey of the VA and the FBI have been involved in all three cases. Ramsey said in a telephone interview that he could not comment on the cases, or whether these arrests were part of a crackdown on military fraud.

Originally, only those who faked receiving a Medal of Honor, the highest award given by the military, were culpable by law. But in response to rising claims of military service fraud and the publication of the book "Stolen Valor," by B.G. Burkett, the Stolen Valor Act of 2005 made false claims of many military medals punishable by law.

According to Diamondhead's Henry Cook, national commander of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, "It's in fashion to be a war hero again." Requirements for earning a purple heart can be found at

He said fraud is frequently uncovered when people apply to join his organization, and the VA's attention to the matter is "a turnabout."

Submitted by:
Rod Shaughnessy

"If we go on waiting upon events, how much shall we throw away our resources now available for our security."
Winston Churchill

We just received word that our oldest son, Sgt Jason Hull, was being transferred back to the east coast from Camp Pendleton. Jason has served in Iraq twice with the Professionals in 2/1. He was wounded at Fallujah, along with most of his buds in his company. We have visited him a number of times since he was first stationed out west and his buddies have graciously accepted this old Infantry Army Doggie. I was elated to know he would be with a day's drive from home and that we should be seeing more of our grandson soon.

As I was driving home thinking of an evil way to spring the good news on my wife, my cell phone rang. It was my youngest son 1st Lt Robert Hull Armored Cav US Army currently stationed at Ft Knox and serving as XO of his training company. We chit chatted for a few minutes and I told him his brother would be coming back this way in a few months. He thought that was great, then he told me why he was calling. He had just received orders to report to Ft Carson. He was to in process, then prepare for acclimatization training in Arizona to prepare him for deployment to Iraq in November as a Cav Scout Platoon Leader.

The hardest job in the military might very well be the job of spouse but a close second is parent of a deployed Soldier,

Marine, Sailor or Airman serving in a combat zone. I would gladly take the place of either of my sons but I am immensely proud of their service and patriotism.

I just read about a fellow in the last news letter that wears the gear of a Marine from a fan's perspective. I applaud that and wish more folks, especially Americans would do the same. I recall coming home from a stressful day of work every night my son was in Iraq, changing out of my clothes and into a set of old Desert Cammies and my old jungle boots, then sitting down to watch every report possible about the ongoing battles. I think during both my son's deployments, I got about two hours of sleep a night. My wife called me the Marine Corps' greatest cheer leader. Now I guess it is time to my gear ready again.

To all those who have served, past, present and future, I salute you. For those parents, spouses, children and relatives of these heroes, you and yours have my prayers.

SSG Dave Hull
US Army (retired)

I would like someone to remind code pink of their mortal words:

"Life is tough...and it's tougher if you're stupid."
~ John Wayne

Semper Fi!
Ed Jones

I am the proud mom of a new female recruit. I love reading the letters (esp. the older vets). It gives me much pride in knowing I will in a few short months be the proud mom of a MARINE!


"One sword keeps another in the sheath."
George Herbert

hi sgt grit
thought you might like this "In the beginning of a change, the PATRIOT is a scarce man, and brave and hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, the timid join him, for then it cost nothing to be a PATRIOT."

Mark Twain 1904

Semper Fi
Larry Werber
Staff Sergeant of Marines

First of all I want to thank all my brother Marines and other armed forces serving today whether in country or here at home. I am 43 years old and still tried ever way I could to rejoin but I got all kind of excuses why I couldn't get back in. I feel I am in pretty good shape just might take a little work on my runs but I know I could do it. I work offshore in the Gulf of Mexico and its hard to run two weeks I'm home. go offshore for 2 weeks and lose the progress I had made. I would love to go over there now and stand by my fellow Marines, so much as to give up the pretty good money I make at my job. I have no kids just nephews that I love to death, but I would proudly go and risk getting killed if it meant a young Marine who has a family or even one that will have one when he gets home then I would rather it be me it happened to so that they could come home and enjoy the rest of their lives. my parents are both passed away and I'm sure the cancer that took them will get me, that's not the way I want to go. I wish everyday I would have never gotten out but they say I have been out too long but I am still good with a weapon so I don't understand their rules, looks like if I could pass a p.f.t. then I should be able to go. I have had a pretty good life but my real life that I miss everyday was in the Corps. Thank you and Semper-Fi! Danny-Boy

"For a people who are free, and who mean to remain so, a well- organized and armed militia is their best security."
Thomas Jefferson

Oh to be 17 again. (Marines Recruiting Video)
Semper Fi.
Michael S. GRAY
USMC R ret.

Sgt. Grit,

May an Old Corps Marine and retired Baptist pastor comment about the yellow bellied COWARDS who show up at funerals for our fallen heroes? Let me be clear about this: none of them are Christian or Baptist.

They are COWARDS who are sham and shameful Americans. There is absolutely nothing Christ like in them. Nothing!

And, they definitely are not Baptist in any shape, form, or substance. They are despicable disgraces to the Name of Christ and to Baptist men and women who suffered persecution and gave their lives for freedom in the early decades of America.

Their dishonesty and cowardice is seen in their trying to cover their dishonorable actions by calling themselves a "church" and "Baptist." They are neither; they are COWARDS!

Please forgive me if a former pastor appears to be overreacting, but I am thankful for the BRAVE and HONORABLE men and women who attend funerals and protect grieving families from those parasites on the Name of Christ and on true Baptists. May God bless our brave military personnel fighting for the freedom of all -- even COWARDS!

Frank H. Hamby
Sgt. 1955-1963

"There is no record in history of a nation that ever gained anything valuable by being unable to defend itself."
H. L. Mencken

This is from Major General John Kelly, who is the Commanding General of the I Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward), currently deployed in Iraq. It was written to his wife for distribution to all of the Camp Pendleton families of Marines serving in the Anbar region of Iraq. I think that you will find it an interesting and very rewarding read.

A Letter from Al Anbar
8 Feb 2008.

Well we've all arrived safe and sound, and have all but taken responsibility for our little piece of the Global war on Terrorism. The Economics and Governance (BG Wiley Post), Wing (BG Tex Alles), MLG (BG Bob Ruark), and GCE (BG Rich Mills) have already taken over, and I will complete the set and take the reins from my good friend MajGen Walt Gaskin tomorrow in a ceremony that will be attended by all the local gentry to include Generals Petraeus and Odnierno. There will also be sheiks from every tribe in the province, and the local civic leadership as well. If you count every soldier, sailor airmen and Marine in I MEF (Forward), or Multi-National Force - Iraq (MNF-I) as we will be know tomorrow, we are 33,000 strong, 25,000 of whom are Marines. Throw in the two Iraqi Army divisions and the police, and, well you get the point.

For most this is the first deployment to Iraq, but luckily we have a pretty good percentage that are second and even third time offenders to show the new folks how to settle in, find a rack and the mess hall, and deal with the desert. Nothing illustrates this better-the vets helping the "boots"-than last night when we had a series of resounding "booms" in the camp. The new guys sat bolt upright with eyes wide indicating their concern until the "old timers"-most in their late teens or early 20 of course-confidently settled the issue by declaring "out going," and everything went back to normal. The very good news is we will seldom hear booms of any kind as the province is a vastly different place than it was even a year ago. Dangerous still, but nothing like it was when any of us were here last. By the way the food is great, plenty of hot water, even for the grunts when can convince them to come in from patrol and ambush duties, and the temperatures are wonderfully cold, something we will all look back on nostalgically in May.

On a personal note I am privileged to be here, even if it is for the third lengthy tour, and I say this for a number of different reasons not the least of which is the opportunity to again serve with young Americans-the best of their generation-in combat. A second reason is there is no greater honor for any man or woman than to protect one's country in time of grave danger, while wearing the nation's cloth. Finally, I do not think there can be anything more gratifying on this earth for an American than to participate in the freeing of a people from the grip of a tyrant, then helping that same people realize the benefits of democracy. To actually exercise the God-given rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

I have been away for three years. What I have found in the week I have been back can only be described as shocking. When I was here last dozens of IEDs detonated everyday in Al Anbar. Fire

fights were as common as IEDs, and mortar and rocket attacks a nightly routine. The emirs of al Qaeda and other equally murderous groups predicted our imminent defeat as they pursued a sick form of extremism no rational man or woman here, or anyplace else, could fathom. Many in our own country for any number of reasons began to lose faith-but the soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines who fought our enemy to a standstill never doubted or wavered in their determination to win.

Several days ago I walked through the market section of Fallujah. It was bustling with Iraqis of all ages buying and selling products of every description. Adults waved, pressed forward to shake hands, and many like good businessmen everywhere tried to make a sale. Kids swarmed around the Marines trying out the few English words they have learned in schools that are all now open. Parents no longer fear to send their boys and girls to learn, a practice that under the extremists was often a death sentence. When I last visited that city it was the most dangerous place on earth. It was a gunfight going in, and a gunfight coming out everyday. The majority of the city's population lived in stark terror from the most evil men on the planet. It was the same then in Ramadi, Haditha, and all the way along the Euphrates River Valley to the Syrian border-but no longer. Like Fallujah the schools are open, markets thrive, and post-war recovery gains momentum across al Anbar.

This war is not won, but is being won and today primarily by the Iraqis themselves. Al Qaeda is not defeated, but it is on the ropes. Its membership knows that if they are foolish enough to come out of the holes they hide in, they will not only meet tough young Americans standing firm and unafraid, but also Iraqi police and soldiers in vastly increased numbers and effectiveness. Iraq is still a dangerous place, but nothing like it was only a short time ago. We should see this thing through because it's the right thing to do, the American thing to do, and we have the new "Greatest Generation" in just enough numbers willing to give up the comfort of their homes and defend us all while spreading freedom to a people who have never know it.

In closing, one of the things that strike me most at times of turnover like we are executing right now with II MEF (Forward) is the power of the Marine Corps. With one boot camp experience for every enlisted Marine regardless of gender or MOS making them all riflemen first, and one officer training experience at TBS making every second lieutenant an infantry platoon leader, again, first and regardless of eventual MOS, we are one huge family. The Iraqis say tribe, and that is how they view us. It doesn't matter what MEF or duty assignment we come from, we all speak the same language, hold the same views about service to country, and have the finest and most dedicated NCOs, SNCOs, and officers in the United States Armed Forces. We have families that support this craziness year after year, a sacrifice few Americans outside the Corps can even imagine. We also have a secret weapon upon which all else rests. Our weapon, the secret of who your loved ones are, is a spirit and an esprit that arms Marines of all ages with a willingness-no an enthusiasm-to go out into the dark and dangerous night and drive convoys to distant locations, fly aircraft through hostile skies, or patrol the streets bravely hunting the nation's enemies. We never worry about our backs, because other Marines and our precious Navy Docs are covering. We don't worry if we will be left behind and forgotten, because we all know Marines don't do that. It doesn't matter what foolishness we might hear in the newspapers or on TV about those who doubt the mission, we don't. So please stay together, stay engaged, and do not worry as we will watch out for each other here in Iraq, as you should support each other home in the States. Also, do not forget the legions of retired and former Marines who want to help in the worst way. We who serve today stand on their shoulders, and they will do anything for you. We thank you all for what you do, for your patience, and for your love.

Semper Fi

"Tyranny, like h&ll, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph."
Thomas Paine

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


I hope that if they won't stand by or behind us they will stand in front of us. Couldn't let it get by me! Thanks Sgt. Grit when I wear my Grit gear I get plenty of Semper Fi's.

Bill Carey
Cpl of Marines

I just wanted to say Thank you for your site and services. My daughter is currently a Recruit at Parris Island and loved getting your catalog while she was still home. Used it for her Christmas wish list J.

We have ordered her several items for Christmas before she left and are starting a list of things to get for Graduation and after.

Can't wait until she earns the title of Marine J.

Thank you again for the great work and love the stories.

Tammy Engelhardt
(Proud Mom of a Parris Island Recruit and Proud Wife of an ARNG Soldier)

"In war: resolution
In defeat: defiance
In victory: magnanimity
In peace: goodwill"

Winston Churchill

Sgt. Grit;

Thank you for your fine newsletter and great products. I have gripe that I would like to share and I think one has to be a Marine to have this bug them. I am sick and tired of seeing the U.S. Army wearing cammies with Old Glory having the blue field facing the wrong way. No Marine would ever disrespect the Flag by displaying it wrong. I have contacted members of Congress who serve on the Armed Forces committee to have this egregious practice stopped but I have never received a reply. The problem could be fixed by simply rotating the patch one turn counter clockwise. I don't know, but, this is probably a problem that exists because of foreign labor doing the work.

Gene Hill
Cpl. of Marines
1957 - 1966

"His integrity was most pure, his justice the most inflexible I have ever known, no motives of interest or consanguinity, of friendship or hatred, being able to bias his decision. He was indeed, in every sense of the words, a wise, a good, and a great man."
Thomas Jefferson

Toys for Tots hummer at the  race at Mahoning Valley Speedway Here are a few more pictures from our fundraising efforts from last year the Picture with the Toys for Tots hummer was at the race at Mahoning Valley Speedway, The Picture with the color guard is at Lehigh Valley Quarter Midget Racing Club Where we did a car display, USMC was present and we collected donations and toys all day and the 3rd picture is of a Toys for Tots car show in TannersVille Pa. Where Kristian Kalch and friend Tanya Fuentes presented a check from people who sponsored laps for Kristian to race on our Racing for Tots day the money was collected by the Kalch family and Ken's PDQ Lube and Service Center in Tannersville, Pa.

On March 31, my Marine and I celebrated the 25th anniversary of the best day of my life - the day he proposed. I was reminiscing about going to see him at El Toro, and getting all dressed up to go to dinner on the Queen Mary. There is no more wonderful sight than a Marine in his dress blues, especially my Marine.

Next day I was out with some friends at a local restaurant when a very handsome young Marine in his dress blues came in with his lady, who was all dressed up. I promptly went to the hostess of the restaurant and told her I would like to buy this young couple their drinks for the evening. After some communications with the waiter it was all arranged. The hostess was rather taken aback, telling me it was very nice of me, etc. I told her she had it all wrong, that I considered it an absolute privilege to be able to do this for them. She asked if I wanted to speak with the Marine and his lady. I said no, just tell them that the wife of a Marine says thank you for all you do.

Let's all remember to use whatever opportunity we have to let these amazing young people know how much they are appreciated.

Proud wife of Sgt. Ed Braemer (1979-1983)

"A demagogue tries to sound as stupid as his audience so that they will think they are as clever as he is." Karl Krauss, German writer and critic of the Third Reich.

Thanks for these news letters. As a proud Marine mama, it does my heart good. My son was a Marine for 4 years before he passed away July 20, 2004. I miss him every minute of the day...Once a Marine always a Marine...
Kathy Avant

Hi there,

I just wanted to say thank you for your newsletter and all the good you do for us Marines.

Two years ago, and I do not remember the date, you asked for what some of us wanted out of your catalog for Christmas, and what we would do with the gift.

I was surprised to have been one of the winners.

I requested the cross with the EGA on it, in the center. The wish for what I would do with it was:

I will give it to the first wife or mother of any Marine who is over in the sandbox. Well I have held onto the cross with that thought in my mind. I was at the VA hospital the other day, and I saw a Marine and his wife there. The Marine had lost his leg in combat, and one could tell it was a struggle for him and his wife, what with all the rehab and surgeries he had been through. I walked over and introduced myself only as an old Marine with a gift for them. I took the cross out of my pocket and placed in the wife's hand. I told them to keep faith and love in their hearts for themselves, and God, and the Corps. Do not give up, and kick the h&ll out of the handicap they now both were suffering with.

She was taken back with that cross and said we can't take this, which I responded with, "It is from your brothers."

And I walked away, crying....

Cpl, Nagle, JP --'class' of "76
MCRDSD, 1st Bn Plt. 1023

"Why has government been instituted at all? Because the passions of men will not conform to the dictates of reason and justice without constraint."
Alexander Hamilton

Raymond Pursell Sgt. Grit,
My dad, Raymond Pursell, was in the Pacific Theatre in WWII. His service time was 1943 to 1946. The group picture of his platoon says 380th Platoon, San Diego, 1943 (Boot Camp). From there he went to radio school and then on to Camp Pendleton where he joined the 2nd Separate Engineer's Battalion, and via the VAC- 5th Amphibious Corps, went to Iwo Jima in February of 1945. I am including a picture of him.

Proud daughter of a WWII vet

Don Patterson & fellow Marine Sgt. Grit

Your flag donation has helped many wounded. We place the flags on the patient's room door identifying their branch of service. Attached is a photo of flags being placed on door nameplate.

Thank you again for all you do.

Don Patterson

"That, as a republic is the best of governments, so that particular arrangements of the powers of society, or, in other words, that form of government which is best contrived to secure an impartial and exact execution of the laws, is the best of republics."
John Adams

Grandpa and grandson working on a bike Used bike $20.00..
Parts and misc $20.00..
Happiest grandson in the world.....PRICELESS

My son in currently serving in Iraq with the 3/5 India Co. 2nd platoon. His nephew has great hero worship for him. He decorated everything in the Marine Corps colors, emblem, songs etc. My husband served in Desert Storm as a Combat Engineers for the US Army. Two people couldn't be prouder. Grandpa and grandson day produced this great bike. Look at the great pictures!

Proud Mother of LCPL Casey S. Matlock
Toye Little

"Children should be educated and instructed in the principles of freedom."
John Adam

"The Declaration of Independence...[is the] declaratory charter of our rights, and the rights of man."
Thomas Jefferson

We Do More by 5 a.m. than you do all day
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God Bless America!
Welcome Home Marine, Job Well Done!
Semper Fi
Sgt Grit

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Sgt Grit Newsletter VS AmericanCourage Newsletter:

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

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

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