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Birthday Ball Items I'm a retired Marine 1st Sgt. I had the privilege and honor of training recruits at MCRD, San Diego in the early 70s at 3rd Battalion as a Drill Instructor. It always made me so proud and grateful to know that there were parents that brought up young men so that they were willing to put themselves in our hands to be molded into Marines. I know that it wasn't easy for all concerned, especially the recruits. I just wanted to say Thank You to all parents of Marines, past and present, and all who are so willing to voice support for our warriors. Please keep raising good young men and women. In that way you are directly contributing to preserving our freedom and our way of life.

Alex Rodriguez
1stSgt, USMC, Retired

Dear Sgt Grit;

After my son went to boot camp in May, I spent the next 2 months researching Marines and other related websites on the internet. This is how I found your newsletter. I still have a hard time reading your stories without shedding a tear. There is a special bond between those who have or are currently serving and families of those members.

I attended my son's graduation last week; the event was something I will remember for a long time. My pride in my son is enormous, as he is now part of this elite group of men and women who have chosen to place the freedom of future generations above their own selfish agendas. While the morals of our country seem to be on a decline, it is refreshing to find there are some who still place value on integrity and professionalism.

Boot Camp Graduation After graduation, we drove to FL for some R & R and had a ‘celebratory dinner' at our clubhouse in Ft. Myers. While dressing for dinner, I asked my son to wear his dress blues. When we arrived, the reception he received was nothing short of amazing!

People came to shake his hand and thank him. We were sent a bottle of champagne from a fellow "Marine brother", drinks, and an endless stream of well wishers came by to say thank you or other kind words. It was difficult for my son to eat with all the interruptions, but each time he stood up, shook their hands, and spoke with them. These people were strangers, but the common bond they all share in support of those who protect us was heartwarming and touching.

To all of you out there - fighting for those who sit home taking what you do for us for granted - we appreciate your courage and dedication more than you will ever know.


Josh's Mom 2nd Battalion, Golf Co. Platoon 2054

Dress Blues

I am the proud wife of a Motor T Operator in the Marine Corps and well we have a few company t-shirts over the years, and a few have a couple of phrases on them. I told my husband this morning as I was reading your newsletter you guys needed help..this was at 5:00 over coffee...yes I still get up at 4:00 am and make the morning coffee, get his cammies together and make his coffee to go for the day. We thought about some but as being married to a Marine, most of them had "explicit" wording in all of them that he could think of, but that's my husband. Sgt. Rennhack just had his 9 year anniversary with joining the Marine Corps on July 27, 1999. I am very proud of him and all that he does.

During his second tour in Iraq we had our first daughter Bailey and he came home from Iraq to a beautiful 6 week old daughter and she has been the light of his life since the day he saw her on his computer thousands of miles away. Just like any other proud dad he should her off to everyone while over seas and came home and hasn't stopped. Bailey is even in with the local Barber shop on Sunday mornings hearing the local gossip at only 11 months now and gets to have her "daddy time" with all the boys.

We are currently expecting our second daughter September 26, 2008 just two weeks after our daughter Baileys 1st birthday of September 11. What a day to have a baby!

We have left the fleet for a few years with now being stationed at Fort Leonard Wood where he is currently a Motor T Instructor for the next 3 years. We both can not wait to see him back in the fleet doing what he does best...

Here is a phrase the Motor T guys who drove wreckers (hemit?!?) 'Your stick it, we pick it" "Can't truck it, F*ck it"

daddy As I said in the start of this letter we are doing this at 5 am over coffee...can't make him think to hard to early! And he is sitting here playing with our daughter who is just as motivated as he is this early in the morning. Cadence is a everyday morning routine around here, she does her war cry and daddy loves every minute of it!

Here are a few pictures of my motivated Marine family. Thanks for you time and Semper Fi.

first meeting Megan Rennhack & Sgt. Adam Rennhack USMC 99-current Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri

P.S. Remember the Marines lead the way, the Army just follows

"The God who gave us life, gave us liberty at the same time; the hand of force may destroy, but cannot disjoin them."

Thomas Jefferson

combat bird Dear Sgt. Grit, In your 28 Aug newsletter you ran two photos of an AV8b Harrier that were submitted by GySgt Eddie Puente with VMA-311 Ordnance Division, currently deployed to Al Asad, Anbar province, Iraq. My son, PFC Bryant Combs, is also with VMA-311 Ord. Div., and he had previously sent me a picture of the same bird with an honored guest. At least part of the reason the jet was painted in its current scheme was to commemorate the February '08 visit to MCAS Yuma by (former) Marine/NASA Astronaut/Ohio Senator John Glenn and his wife Annie (notice the I May Look Harmless, But I Raised a US Marine Mug name painted beneath the canopy in this photo). Senator Glenn flew with VMA-311 in Korea. It's comforting to know that the Marines are putting the Harrier to good use rather than saving it as a display piece.

Brent Combs
Canal Fulton, Ohio

P.S. I may not look so tough, but I raised a US Marine.

One of the great things about living in America is being able to call yourself an "American". America has long been a name that signifies strength, liberty, justice and an opportunity not just for us but also for others. From Americas very beginning the men, women and children that landed on these shores were pioneers not bound by convention or illusion of greatness but bound in the unity to form a great nation. The greatness that comes to this country comes from these people. They found a safe haven and the willingness to chart and implement even through great hardship and misgivings a land that provided opportunity, liberty and justice. These people set aside their differences and worked together long and with great difficulty to accomplish these goals. These brave men and women not only have endured but gave their lives to see that this America would survive. The greatness of America is in these people. They have fought wars both world wide and civil and showed intrepidness and allegiance to defend these values that we hold so dear. To establish a heritage of bravery and honor so we could pass it on from generation to generation. For many of these people it was a dream that they would not see fulfilled but they knew that this dream would endure and flourish and engender the next generation to bear its burden. Like any family the American people would often disagree among themselves but when confronted by a common adversary they would band together in this adversity and fight side by side to defend and protect their values and freedom to show to other nations their ideas of integrity and responsibility and the concerns for other people. This was the foundation that America was built on. For generations America was seen as dedicated, proud, generous, willing and able to enter into any conflict where the rights and liberties of others were infringed upon. This America has long given its bravest its brightest and youngest to place it in the position of the citadel of freedom and the symbol of hope for all. I salute all. past, present and future men and women who take up the banner of LIFE...LIBERTY and FREEDOM. I also salute my father Sgt. Victor Dolemba (USMC 1941-1945)

Semper Fi
Sgt Adrian Dolemba (USMC 1964-1968) and forever a MARINE.

"The operations of the federal government will be most extensive and important in times of war and danger; those of the State governments, in times of peace and security."

James Madison

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Dearest Sgt. Grit,

Thank you first of all for your service. I have two sons in Iraq. Our oldest is in the United States Army Motor T unit. And our youngest United State Marine also Motor T. Both sons in Iraq fighting for the freedom of so many. Their jobs are one of the most dangerous in the service, the not knowing is what is hard to know that they both are out late at night, it was not like that when they lived at home, Ha Ha. But they are proud our Marine received his first LOA letter and the pride we have in our sons this day and time not all parents can say they are proud of what there kids are doing. I want to thank all the service men and woman. I enjoy your newsletter, the stories are so great. I love to hear the old stories my Granddad was in the Navy. I miss him so. Thanks for a place to remember and learn what they do out there for us all.

Proud parents of Pvt. Ronald E. Robinson
and LCpl Colt R Robinson

Sgt Grit,

I met my boyfriend about two years ago, and he's in MCRD right now, about four weeks left. He enlisted with two of his good friends, and they're all doing very well. Before my boyfriend enlisted, I never really thought of all the people out there who put their own lives on the line for people they don't even know. When he joined, it gave me new light to those people. Now, at work, on the streets; wherever I am, I always make a point of telling every man and woman I know 'Thank you for your service.' One of the boys' moms teases me all the time 'leave those poor people alone! You're probably scaring them!' But I just look at her and tell her, 'Nah.. They shake my hand back and look me in the eyes and *normally* say 'you're welcome' but I've gotten a few odd looks like 'you've got to be kidding... wait... what!?!

Taped Hood I recently had to use duct-tape to fix the front bumper on my car, and thought 'well, while I've got the duct-tape, I'll do a little personalized decal work on the hood.... I get some kind- of funny looks, but also some one-fingered waves. Like "cool but I'm too lazy to really actually pay attention" :] Well, about two days after the duct-tape fix, it came loose again while I was driving to the mall to get something for him, and there was an older gentleman who pulled over to help me tie it up with a shoestring. :] He saw the USMC on the hood and asked, "Oh, who's in the Marines?" I replied *very* proudly, "My boyfriend and two of his good friends." He said, "Well good for them, pass on that we're all proud of them and tell them good luck." "I will." He finished tying the shoestring to the bumper, and we went our separate ways.

It makes me so happy when people are thanked for putting their lives on the line for others, and I'm glad I'm one who thanks them. They aren't thanked nearly enough sometimes, and sometimes they are even bashed for it... One of the boys' moms was at a gas station a couple of days ago, and the man behind the counter had a hat or something on, I can't remember what she told me. But she knew that he had served, and it turned out it was in Vietnam (I think - I wasn't there). Well there was another woman at the next cashier who was bashing the troops a bit and just carried her mouth and ended up saying to my friend's mom, "Well if you support the troops that much, why don't YOU go over there?" my friend's mom just looked at the man behind the counter and said "Thank you, sir, for your service" and left.

I guess the point to this was just to say that it's really not that hard to go a few inches outside your shell to say thank you to a serviceman or woman.

Semper Fi!

"Here comes the orator! With his flood of words, and his drop of reason."

Benjamin Franklin

To Proud Marine Wife from Texas You are not alone, you just haven't found the others. 38 years after leaving the Corps, I am always surprised to find out who I live among. If you don't ask, and some times even if you do ask, you never find out that that guy at Walmart was in Korea, or that lady at the pharmacy was a Navy nurse. Everywhere in this country there are patriots that have server in one way or another. Go find them. In addition to that, there is Sgt. Grit and this web site! To Poolee Hucks Follow your heart. You will always be prouder of Your accomplishments than other's advice.

Sgt. Ward, USMC 1971-1975.

I want to report the passing of my half-brother, Doyle Dean O'Bannon. He died from a heart attack in Paris, TX at the age of 63. My brother was a Marine who served during the Cuban Missile crisis. Next to my father, he was the toughest man I ever knew and was sharp in mind and body. When I lost my father in a car accident when I was 13, my brother moved back home to help me and our mother. He taught me the value of an education and love of family. He did not look for trouble and didn't back down when confronted by it. He truly inspired me by his example to join the Marines in 1974 and we shared the title of Marine together making our bond that much closer. I miss my brother but know he watches over all of us while walking his post on the streets of heaven.
Semper Fi and God bless the Marine Corps!

Julian P. Etheridge SSgt USMC 1974-1985

"Nothing is more essential to the establishment of manners in a State than that all persons employed in places of power and trust must be men of unexceptionable characters."

Samuel Adams

I'm not sure who actually said this; but, they are words that every TRUE American should remember when they think about spewing garbage about the brave men, and women, in the United States Armed Forces. --"For those who have fought for it; Freedom has a flavor that the protected will never know."-- For Those Who Fought For It Bumper Sticker

Unless you are willing to stand where the Service member is, and do the same job knowing that someday they might not come home to their families - KEEP Your MOUTH'S SHUT ! Freedom is not; nor will it ever be, FREE. Brave men and women have been dying for it for centuries. What they continually fail to comprehend is that it's the shedding of that blood that allows them the right to say whatever they want to. My brother, and I, are both former Marines. My mother (God rest her soul) sat at home through the 80's, and watched and waited as one of us would be deployed, and one of us would come home. We were never there at home at the same time. We are the few. We are the proud. And that is why we ARE The Marines.

This in loving memory to all my fallen brothers and sisters.

Douglas Gersch

Every time, I hear that a Marine was injured, or killed in the war I am angry no one has the right to injury, or kill my Marines. I feel they are all mine. I grew up spending summers on Pendleton in Del use homes. My Father was a Montford Point Marine in WW ll and he had a friend from his service days who is now deceased and I stayed with him and his family during the war games in the summers and he was a career Navy Corpsman named Berry Woods. I remember the fliers that were sent out telling us kids not to pick-up ammo, and baby rattle snakes were very poisonous. To show the readers how long ago it has been I am now in my fifties, and my father is also deceased as of 2000.

Derrick W. Streets

"Battle is the most magnificent competition in which a human being can indulge. It brings out all that is best; it removes all that is base. All men are afraid in battle. The coward is the one who lets his fear overcome his sense of duty. Duty is the essence of manhood."

General George Patton

To Judy Quinn,

They were the first ones to shut you up and tell you they didn't do anything special, but your Father is a man to be commended and revered as a Hero, as were the many Marines who waded into the fray on that island (my Dad included)...if you do a bit of searching I believe you will find that your Father and/or his Unit, Battalion, Regiment, or Division were awarded certain honors after the war years when the true tally of actions was finally totaled.

My Dad came home wearing the five ribbons he earned, (some earned two, three and five times over on different campaigns), I buried him with the nine he actually earned (with the proper number of subsequent issues for each). It does take some detective work and having his DD-214 with will help.

If I can be of any service, please feel free to contact me.

Semper Fi, Ken Heath

Request a Free DD-214

"Nothing is more exhilarating than to be shot at without result."

Winston Churchill

I have one son at Camp Lejeune with the 2nd Mar Div 3/9 Kilo Co. He has been a Marine since 2005 and is now a Sergeant and squad leader. My youngest son is going to MCRD on Sept 15th to serve his country, we are so proud of these young men and all of our servicemen who have stepped up in defense of our freedom.

Scott and Cheri Legaard, Coeur d' Alene, Idaho

To Sgt. Redfield's girlfriend, Malia--

OOH-frickin-RAH, honey! Thank you for being a strong woman in a world full of people afraid to stand up for what they believe in, and most importantly, what they LOVE. It takes a strong man to be a Marine, and a strong woman to love one. I'm not sure my reaction would have been as contained as yours had a prissy girl in a "USMC- United States Massacre Cover-Up" shirt accosted me with my blood already pumped up in the gym, so I applaud you for not knocking some sense into her, when she clearly needs some. "Sometimes it is entirely appropriate to kill a fly with a sledge hammer." Your man is protecting her right to be ignorant, so take pride in having one of the few good men! And if you're gonna be safe by sleeping with a Marine, go the full mile and conserve water by showering with one! : ) You make us all proud.

Lauren McCluskey

I would like to start out by saying I am a PROUD MARINE MOM! I gave my only son to the Corps. He has been the apple of my eye from the moment I laid eyes on him. When he was thinking about enlisting in the service when he was only 16 we sat down and discussed all his options and his future after the Corps. As a single mom I always think about his future and pray that it is not as difficult as mine. His enlistment started over 4 years ago. The separation from my son during boot camp and the knowledge that I could not speak to him the entire time was a difficult one. I surprised him during family day (arriving a day before graduation) it was one of the most amazing days of my life. Graduation day filled me with such pride, my heart was so big and beaming, a tear comes to my eyes each time I think of my little man and how proud he was to be a Marine. How proud he was to wear the uniform. And how proud I was of him!

The next difficult thing was letting him go to Iraq, like I actually had a choice. I worried and became a "cloud person" for those 18 months, I went through the motions but was not there, I left the Christmas tree up until the following April and still had all his gifts under it. It was what I thought at the time one of the hardest most worrisome times of my life. This man, left behind two adoring sisters, a mother and grandmother, and two very special uncles, we all worried the entire time. It was then that I realized that not only do our servicemen and women sacrifice themselves, but the families left behind sacrifice too. I may have lost a little boy in the process, but I gained much more, I gained hundreds of thousands of family members, gained the understanding that there is no greater call than to want to stand up and protect our country. I have more Marine Corps stickers, blankets, shirts than most single moms, I go out of my way to thank every servicemen and women for there service to this country, and each time I tear up, no matter what branch they serve in.

My older brother recently passed away and he too was in the service. When taps was played at his funeral and they announced that the President of The United States wanted to thank my family for my brothers service to his country, all I could think about was one day hopefully not in my lifetime, the President would be thanking my family for my sons service in the Corps. My brother was so very proud of my son and called him son. My son did not wear his dress blues to the service, did not announce to anyone that he had to take leave to come home for a funeral, instead he stood among us as a family (and some of my son's fellow Marines attended the service) and watched as my mother, brother and I mourned the passing of his uncle. My son noticed the little things, the way the flag was folded, the song of taps and the handing over of the flag, they all did. He said at that moment he was never so proud of his uncle, and his service to his country.

It angers me when people don't understand why we are in a war, why we care about such horrors in other countries, when they should be more concerned with the fact that each one of us that has a member in the service feels the pain when there is a death, no matter what branch they serve in. A little boy whom I raised was told that one day many people would be listening to him that some day not only would he make a difference but that America would take notice of this little boy that a single mom raised while working 3 jobs. He has now become a man, and my words have come back two fold. Not only is my son a Sgt in the United States Marine Corps. but, now the whole world listens to him. And every person that serves in the military, we hear and feel their pain, their sorrow and their sacrifice every day.

I am proud to me an AMERICAN and Proud to be A MARINE MOM. I thank each and every servicemen for there honor, courage and commitment and most of all for there sacrifice. GOD BLESS AMERICA and our MARINES!

Dawn Argue
Marine Mom of Sgt Edward J Smith Jr, USMC

"A revealing light is thrown on this subject through the studies by Medical corps psychiatrists of the combat fatigue cases in the European Theater. They found that fear of killing, rather than fear of being killed, was the most common cause of battle failure, and the fear of failure ran a strong second."

S.L.A. Marshall

Sgt. Grit,

I found your website a few weeks ago while searching for bumper sticker that I saw around town. Come to find out it was one of yours, and I immediately purchased it. Mostly because I live in a state, full of people who love to preach pacifism and shout against our troops, and I enjoy giving them a reason to honk their horns and flip me off while I'm driving down the road.

I'm currently working on my last year at a community college and have had to wade through countless protests and demonstrations, against the war, against our boys, and ultimately against our nation. More than once I've gotten into a standoff with a classmate on the issues of the war, and terrorism, etc. These people really have no idea what they're talking about and their arguments fall apart so quickly it's almost laughable.

Pacifism is a Luxury Bumper Sticker While I'm still angered when people say things against the military, and against our president, I'm more tempted to laugh at them then actually get upset by their words. I can rest assured in the fact that I know the truth, and while they're entitled to their own opinions, their own opinions are quite decidedly wrong.

I myself am not a Marine, but my fiancé is and I'm extremely proud of him. He's served in Iraq once and was due for a second deployment but they decided to leave him behind, for which I am glad. I can honestly say that I hold those women who've been through multiple deployments in extremely high regard. They're made of the same metal as their Marines, and both have my utmost respect.


"If we have an arms control agreement, the Russians will cheat. If we have an arms race, we will win."

General Earle Wheeler

"It is far more important to be able to hit the target than it is to haggle over who makes a weapon or who pulls the trigger."

Dwight D. Eisenhower

I'm sorry to hear about your Dad, times like this, is where are best times of memory kick in, mine died back in 1993 a WW11 veteran, a Sgt at that, I have a letter from him dated back from 1945 from the 345th fighter squadron-350th fighter group, I read the letter over and over when I get spare time, and try to realize what he went threw for god and country. Again I express my deepest sympathy for your lost.

Jeffrey Bataille

I have a story to tell, My name is Juan Vasquez, I enlisted in the Marine Corps before I finished high school in 1975 right after Vietnam because I wasn't old enough, I was just 17. and my parents had to sign for me. I had only planned to serve 4 years but ended up doing two enlistments. My brother who is two years younger than me enlisted and served six years, but three of my younger brothers enlisted and all three saw action in Desert Storm. My mother was nervous enough when I was in but to have 3 sons in the war at the same time, was tearing her apart. My only other brother who couldn't serve because of medical problems and wanted to join couldn't was killed also during that time, I remember my brother being in Saudi Arabia and having to be bought back thru hostile countries to attend his and my fathers funeral who passed 6 months after my brother. I remember my mom way passed her breaking point, but even with all the tragedy, she was so proud to see my three brothers in their dress blues and to know that they were all safe was a great relief . I just want to say that I can say that my family is a Marine family and will always be. My nephew, my sister's boy also joined the Corps. This is the best organization I have ever been in and when my brothers and I get together is like actually being back in the Corps.

Juan Vasquez SSGT USMC
Kilo Co 3/5 1975-1978
Charlie Co 1/9
Semper Fi

"If civilians are going to be killed, I would rather have them be their civilians than our civilians."

Stuart Symington

Dear Sgt Grit:

I'm an immigrant from La Havana, Cuba, and my wife is from Santa Fe de Bogota, Colombia, we came to this wonderful, amazing and awesome country nearly 32 years ago, I've worked most of my life for Xerox Corp. in Mexico City, Santa Ana, Ca. and Rochester, N.Y., I have two sons, my oldest one is Luis A. Rodriguez and the youngest one is E. A. Rodriguez, for some reason my oldest one went back to Mexico city with a brother of mine, with the time he became a prominent Lawyer and nowadays he is a successful Businessman; the youngest one stayed with us here in California, finally he graduated from North Hollywood H S, in 1987, he always admired people in uniform, specially Marines; for some reason my son started "hanging out" with the wrong people, he dropped off H.S. on his sophomore year, I'm less than proud to let you know, that he spent 2 years in the streets of downtown Los Angeles, "dealing" and "doing" with not so good "stuff"; on day, my brother in law, his uncle Pedro, saw him on the street of downtown L.A. , approached my son and took him to his place, where he offered a shower, warm food, clean bed, clean clothes and help.

After a couple of weeks, my son E. was admitted in to this Rehab clinic in California, it took him 8 months to get rid off his addiction, then, one week before he's got discharged from Detox, my brother in law, Pedro, went to visit him with a "friend" of his, after this "friend" spoke to my son for nearly 3 hours, my son told him he will have an answer to his "proposition" one day before my son's Clinic dismissal, so it was the time for my son to make the right choice for once in his life!

He had only 2 choices, going back to high school, graduate and join the Corps, or simply he was going back to the streets either Mexico City or La Havana, Cuba. But my son was determined to be a better person and human being than he was before, so he made the right choice! He joined the USMC at 29 palms in Camp Pendleton, San Diego, Ca. graduated from boot camp in 1988, then, he was deployed to the Saudi Arabian Desert, where he Met former U.S. President Bush Sr. for Thanksgiving Day in 1988!

After his first tour ended in Afghanistan, he went to Quantico for officer candidate school, he graduated as an officer, then, he became 1LT USMC, after this, he was sent to Afghanistan again, then Desert Storm, then he was stationed in Ramstein, AB in Germany, then he was stationed at the US embassy in Mexico City, after being there for 2 years, he received his orders to be deployed to Mogadishu, Somalia, where he got injured on duty and his lovely and amazing military career finished...

all I have to say to you now is;

God bless the Corps! thanks for believe in my son and given the opportunity to fight and defend "my country" , "our country"

Semper fi
Cuban-Colombian Marine Dad Luis J Rodriguez

Ms. Peckham; I have been a Marine for 40 years tomorrow. I can relate to you about the response we receive for showing our pride in the Corps. My response to civilians who haven't got the sense God gave a turnip is to face them and say,

"I am willing to fight to the death for your right to express your opinion, are you?"

Most of the time the only response is a shocked expression and a hasty retreat. That's why we are "The Few, The Proud, The Marines".

Semper Fi

Cpl. Mark Lanz, USMC Ret. University RSVN, '69 graduate

"The mere absence of war is not peace."

John F. Kennedy

Sgt Grit,

I saw on "greatest Marine" comments a vote for Sgt Kenneth D. Midkiff who gave his life on Iwo Jima. It was posted by his sister-in-law, Jean M. Midkiff on 8-14-08; 7:30:43 a.m. I recognized this name. Sgt Kenneth D. "Katie" Midkiff was an outstanding member and a squad leader in Lt Keith Wells 3rd Platoon, Easy Company, 2 BN, 28th Marines, 5th Division on Iwo.

Lt Wells, of Abilene, TX still speaks highly of Sgt Midkiff as do other members of this famous platoon. Lt Wells is spoken highly of on numerous occasions in Bradley's book, Flag of Our Fathers. However, more interesting books written about this famous platoon are in which Sgt Midkiff is talked about are: 1)--The Bloody Battle for Suribachi, by Richard Wheeler, who was also a member of this platoon. Wheeler currently resides in Pennsylvania. 2)--Lt Keith Wells also wrote an outstanding book, Iwo Jima: Give Me Fifty Marines Not afraid to Die. Both Wheeler's and Wells' book are written in the first person which makes them even more remarkable.

Wheeler was standing next to Sgt Ken Midkiff when Lt Wells uttered his famous challenge [the sub title of his book] . Sgt Midkiff turned to his squad and commented, "and do you know what? You're one of the fifty". Little did they know the fate that would soon be theirs and they would become part of the outstanding history of the USMC, e.g. "that flag Guarantees a Marine Corps for the next 500 years". This one platoon was awarded , 1 MOH, 3 Navy Crosses, 1 Silver Star, 1 Bronze Star and over 110% Purple Hearts. Until Viet Nam this was the most highly decorated single unit in a combat action in the history of the USMC.

The 3rd Platoon's story, in spite of its significance and it drama, would remain relatively untold. The survivors of the second flag raising would become national figures, while those of the first flag raising would be forgotten. Marines and admirers of Marines should read these two books.

To see pictures of the remaining members of Lt Wells platoon please go to and click on the Iwo Jima picture [2nd row], then scroll down and click on "photo essay" for even more pictures. These pictures are from a reunion that we organized for these wonderful Marines in 2006 where they were guests of honor of Gen Pace, as well as President Bush with breakfast at the White House and Veterans Day ceremonies at Arlington. We had another DC reunion in 2007 where they were greeted by Commandant Conway.

I applaud Mrs. Midkiff for voting for her brother in law and allowing this improbable connection.

submitted by:

Richard D. Sallee Oklahoma City, OK Father of 1Lt Erik Sallee, Infantry, USMC

Marines never really die, I mean their bodies do, but their souls will always live on. He's probably doing some stuff, for that man up stairs. God only chose the best there is, and who is better that your dad. My dad pass away in 2001, and mom, 2006. They are greatly miss, but their memories will always live on. Thru us, and our children. Marines, do make a difference in one's life. Gods speed R Alexandre.

LCPL Marines, 1st Lieut USAF Aux

"The world needs anger. The world often continues to allow evil because it isn't angry enough."

Bede Jarrett

From the Department of Veterans Affairs in Washington, DC, from a friend who works there: There were 2.65 million who served in Vietnam. 1.25 million are left as of last year...dying at a rate of 390 per day. This is a faster rate than WW II vets at the same age group. There are 9 million within the VA system claiming to have been in Vietnam.

I can probably guess that at least 3 million were TDY / TAD over a 15 year period. That leaves 4-5 million f*cking liars.

Troops' encounter at DFW with Nastia Liukin, Gold Medal Olympian

Hi All...

Just wanted to share a wonderful experience with you.

My wife, Susan, and I work every Thursday as volunteers with the USO's "Operation Sendoff" at DFW airport, working with troops on their way back from R&R to Iraq/Afghanistan.

This past Thursday (8/21), the outbound flight was delayed. While the troops were waiting to board, Nastia arrived at the next gate, with all her retinue, photographers, security, etc. They left the "secure area"; but when Nastia learned of the outbound troops, she turned around, came back through TSA Security, and came to the gate to see the troops.

She was incredibly gracious, took time to hug several, posed for photo's with the troops and families who had come to see them off, and seemed delighted to have had the opportunity to be with them.

There just aren't words to explain how thrilled the troops were that she came back, just for them, and showed such genuine affection and concern for them and their families. It was a thrilling experience for us to see.

Her concern for the troops and generosity of spirit shown by her actions reflected beautifully on the quality of her upbringing, her character, and the conviction of her appreciation.

She will always be a true Gold Medalist to those soldiers, Marines, airmen, and sailors, and to us.

May God bless the United States of America.

Jay Graham USMC, 1953 - 56 Arlington

"I am not so senseless as to want war. We want peace and understanding, nothing else. We want to give our hand to our former enemies...When has the German people ever broken its word?"

Adolf Hitler

To Malia Lape Girlfriend of Sgt. Redfiekd

Dear Malia, Good for you! The girl that you spoke of is clearly disrespectful of our Marine Corps. Duly noted and respectfully so was your recognition of her right as a free person to disrespect our beloved Corps. That having been said ,it is probably not her fault that she is a free idiot as well. She is one of many that have the luxury of having been so protected all of her life that she can not only take her freedom for granted , but also not be educated historically enough to know why it is that she has the freedom to disrespect our Corps. and not be beheaded for what would clearly be a severe crime in other countries . Look at the bright side .She may move to Baghdad some day and say bad things about the military their as well.

Semper Fi girl,
Dellarocco, Dennis, B. U.S.M.C. 3rd Maine Division,
Vietnam, I Corps. 1968-1969

Dear Sgt. Grit:

I was a Navy Corpsman in "B" 1/26 at Khe Sanh, and spent most of my enlistment with the USMC. I have been watching this new HBO series Generation Kill that is based on a book that was supposed to have been written by a Marine. To me the show seem very disrespectful to the Marine Corps, with officer arguing in front of the enlisted men, and the Gunny talking disrespectful to the Platoon Commander. I can't even imagine a corpsman telling the Company Commander he is incompetent. This doesn't sound like the Marine Corps I was with in Viet Nam. I would like to here what others think of this show. Is it all Hollywood crap or is this the way things are today.

Thanks. Gary "Doc" Antoine

"Long, continuous periods of peace and prosperity have always brought about the physical, mental and moral deterioration of the individual."

Bradley A. Fiske

Sgt Grit, I know this is not exactly down your alley, but I thought you could help spread the word. I live just outside of Chicago, and just started a new job at a place called A Piece A Cake Bakery, owned by a former Marine senior DI and his wife a former Marine MP. I found them on the internet because of "Operation Sweet Tooth" a program they started. Anyone with family or friends overseas can send cookies to their loved ones, only paying shipping, the bakery donated the cookies and all shipping materials. Unlike many other companies no profit is made for the bakery, and that means a lot to me, even though they both already served their country, they feel they can do more, even if it costs them a little, it is worth it to them. here is their website with all the info, please do with it what you think best. Thanks for the help.

Semper Fi,
Michael A. Weiss Cpl USMC 2000-2004

This year, I was among the 149 WWII veterans from my area who were provided a free trip to Washington DC to view the WWII Memorial there as well as many other memorials, Iwo Flag Raising, Korean Memorial, Vietnam Wall, the Air Force takeoff and a greet visit with many dignitaries.

We flew from St. Louis to Baltimore, then by bus to DC with a food stop in Laurel Maryland on the way back to catch the flight home. A real Memorial trip. I got to know dozens of other trip takers at a Honor Flight get together at the Washington, MO Fair on Sunday when over 100 of us were guests of honor at the fair. What a great reaction we received during the flight and at the fait.

George Boots Weber, US Marine Corps, 1944-46,

"God and the politicians willing, the United States can declare peace upon the world, and win it."

Ely Culbertson

Poolee Hucks,

I read your submission to the American Courage # 181 newsletter and wanted to offer this in reply.

If your parents will not support your decision to join the finest organization of patriotic Americans, become a member of the strongest brotherhood in existence, and to serve the finest country in the history of the world then I know that many Marines, including me, will gladly accept you as a son.

As Marines we all know what we want and how to get it...stand on those Yellow Footprints. Do it, no matter what those in your life may say to dissuade you. You have made a decision that will change your life dramatically for the better and you have the support of everyone that has ever earned the Eagle, Globe, and Anchor. You will share a pride, sense of duty, and devotion to the Corps for the rest of your life upon graduation for boot camp.

You owe it to yourself to complete this mission. Stand tall and proud. No matter what others may say for you will know that you have accomplished what the naysayer wouldn't dream of trying. You will become a United States Marine and NO ONE can ever take that away from you.

R. Kiser USMC/USMCR '65-'71


This for Poolee Hucks; That you are facing this trial alone save your girlfriend only reflects two things. The lack of knowledge of your family and friends, the pay is the same in all branches of services, what you are rewarded with is the challenge of becoming a Marine. Our Hymn clearly states "We are proud to claim the title of United States Marine", for those who don't know never will, for those who do carry it with them for the rest of their lives. Your willingness to accept the challenge says a lot about you and your character, I'd be proud to have you as my son and brother in arms. Carry on young man.

CEC Patrick S. Corrie USN RET
74-94 Sgt
USMC 67-71


Poolee Hucks, Stand Proud. You're taking the first steps on a life changing and life long journey.

When my son announced he was joining the Marines, my wife and I were immediately supportive. His grandmothers and aunts were decidedly not supportive. They harangued, cajoled, attempted bribery, etc. Until I forcibly told them to either support him 1000% in his decision or they had to remain silent. Actually I used shorter and less polite words.

Feelings were strained while my son was in Boot. But when they saw the outstanding young man who came home from MCRD they were stunned. Now his biggest supporters are those who first tried to talk him out of joining the Marines.

Stand Proud, poolee Hucks. Your family will come around. If they don't you're joining the largest family in the world and we all support you in your decision to be a Marine.

Ryan Pridgeon
Father of Cpl Jacob Pridgeon


Sgt. Grit:

This is in response to Poolee Hucks (Newsletter #181) and I am sure that you will receive many like it, so I will be brief.

Poolee Hucks: there is no amount of money that could ever, ever replace the life-long pride and self-respect that you will feel as a Marine. It is almost 40 years since I left the USMCR and it is a rare day that I don't think of how lucky I am that I was privileged to wear that uniform and walk tall among the greatest. If you ultimately choose to make the Marines your career, that will be wonderful, but, if not, the lessons you will have learned, the pride and motivation you will have gained will all contribute to success in whatever other avenues you select to pursue.

Don't listen to anyone who has not served in the Marine Corps. They have no idea!

Oohrah - Semper Fi!

(fmr) Sgt. Rick Feinstein 2070029 10 Dec 63 - 10 Dec 69


"There is no amount of money that could replace the pride you will carry through your life from being a Marine."



Poolee Hucks

Only you can make the decision to become a U.S. Marine, and when all is said and done you can be assured that should you chose to follow through with your desire that you will have made the correct decision, true if you are in it for the money you will not become a millionaire but the comrades in arms that you will earn and the esprit de corps that is earned will be far more than money can buy. Listen to others and let them run your life, listen to your heart and make your decision, only you can do that. When you graduate from MCRD you will know if you made the correct decision or not, until that time will you understand that of which I speak.

Sgt John A. Alvarado USMC 1967-1971
Once a Marine always a Marine

"I never expect to see a perfect work from imperfect man."

Alexander Hamilton

Sgt. Grit:

This is just a short note to thank you for the good work you are doing with the newsletter. Being an old timer and having served on the USS Randolph CVA-15 as captains orderly and supply NCO with the Marine Detachment I never had the chance to see combat. Reading your newsletters about the young and old Marines has really brought out the best of this old Marine. I love the Corps. and what it taught me about life. I still wear my Marine Corps. ring and my retired USMC cap, and my truck proudly displays the USMC plate and Semper FI on the back window. Everywhere I go people say Hi and Semper Fi. Tears come to my eyes when a young Marine comes up to me and congratulates me and then a Semper Fi. This is what the Corps is all about and the words there is never an ex. Marine is so true. Keep up the good work and I look forward to all the info. you can pass on to me.


Ron Iman Sgt of the Marines (RET) 1955-1959

My husband is a former Marine. He was in from 1969-1973 including Parris Island. I don't know all the details and company names he was in-- as to many years have come and gone. but my husband (SGT.John Williams) served as a PMI (Permanent marksman Instructor at Parris Island) from 1971-1973. John also went through boot camp there on the island..from Nov. until Jan. 1970. We were married in June 1970 and soon afterward he was sent on the med cruise for 6 months. What a way to start married life as a young couple. John actually was scheduled to go to Viet Nam. He even had orders to go. But thanks to a friend of John's, he saw John's name on a paper and sent John to Okinawa instead for a year. This man knew John and I had just been married a short time and had already been apart for 6 months..He thought it would be better for us if Johnny didn't go to Nam..So off to Okinawa for another year. When John returned from Okinawa he got a 30 day leave then we traveled to Parris Island once again to start our new life together.. We spent a year and half apart..Now that was a tough way to start out any life!

I will never forget coming to Parris Island as a young wife--of 19 years old. I remember getting to ride to base one afternoon-( Not knowing what my husband actually did for his job). What a eye opener! Scared me to death! And I wasn't even a Marine! There were new recruits learning to shoot a gun! I got a rare look at the shooting range- the pits-and lots and lots of recruits! I couldn't believe the noise and oh so many young men with rifles in their hands! My husband wore a DI Hat also! I don't know how many men went through this part of basic training - but I know it was a bunch! They would try to qualify to shoot every two weeks. These recruits would be sent to my husband - who seemed- could not shoot at all. They would send them to Sgt. Williams. He would get them to some how shoot those rifles! While some guys cried- never having held a gun--- let alone shoot one! And there were quite a few who had never been away from the farms and suburbs. So a lot of the PMI's would just want to let them go. Not John - they were a challenge to him, to get them qualified!

John was very good at teaching. He must have had the patient of JOB! Because each couple of weeks--he would come home and tell of one man after the other who had finally learned to shoot. Even when other PMI's couldn't get them qualified - John could! That was awesome! John also earned a marksman ribbon himself. As a young Marine wife-- I had seen so much on the Island. And heard so much! Lord the cussing -- wow! Where did people learn that language? It amazed me how much they would be cussing-yet when I walked up near the men-- they'd say "there's a lady among us"! "Watch your language"! I really thought that was great considering they were all being cussed at constantly! I also got and up close and personal tour of the DI's yelling! Lord my mom could yell, but not like DI's! That was something to experience!

Marine Wife, Toughest Job in the Corps John has been out of the Marines since 1973. We did make a trip back to Parris Island about 5 years ago, Things had changed there, some of the old buildings were still there..and recruits were still learning how to shoot. I think John would loved to show the ones who they thought couldn't qualify ---to give him his old job back! Let him show them how it is done! That these men could be taught! I am proud to say I was a Marine's wife and still after all these years, to say my husband was a Marine! John still loves it when people recognize his being a former Marine..

- Semper Fi!

OOH RAH! God Bless all the Marines and the wives who wait for them!

"The timid, civilized world has found nothing with which to oppose the onslaught of a sudden revival of barefaced barbarity, other than concessions and smiles."

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Sgt. Grit,

I recently received the special edition shirt commemorating the 2001 attack on the United States at the Ground Zero in New York City. In the picture are the USMC Eagle Globe and Anchor and the core components of Honor, Courage and Commitment along with the Twin Towers. I connected to the shirt immediately.

My son James is a United States Marine and a soon to be Corporal who is at Camp LeJuene in Motor Transport and I am a Chief of Police in Minnesota and am retiring at the end of September 2008 after 34 years of service.

For sixteen years I have also been involved as a Critical Incident Stress Debriefer, helping those officers who have been involved in critical incidents. My job is to keep these officers in service after an incident by listening to them and providing the information that what they are feeling and experiencing is "a normal reaction to an abnormal event". The whole debriefing lasts only a couple of hours but the pay off is for a lifetime. The officers control the content and we lead them in and lead them back out again.

I volunteered to work with a unit of the New York City Police Department and was assigned to Ground Zero and the City Morgue in the above capacity. The officers we had contact with were either present at the time of the attack or responded within two hours to the scene and the majority witnessed the planes hit the buildings. The work was intense and we ourselves were debriefed twice during our stay because of the impact of the sessions.

Just for an example of how the attack affected more than the United States, we worked with a Canadian Police team who also traveled at their own expense to help.

The last debriefing of this team took several hours because of the impact of their turn at the City Morgue. The procedure at the morgue was that when remains that were identified as police or fire would enter the morgue, all in attendance would stop and form up and salute. The Canadian Team was having a hard time coping with this and the matter was handled on their final debriefing as they headed home. Thanks to our allies in this fight, we appreciate your support.

The shirt does a good job of combining the experience I had and the USMC has in the fight against terrorism.

On another matter, I had no idea of the family bond that would happen as a result of James earning the title of United States Marine. We attended his graduation at San Diego on November 2007 and marveled at his transformation. We owe so much to the Drill Instructors that words cannot describe it. Even former teachers cry when we show his USMC graduation pictures to them. He has always been a great person but he now has a purpose that he believes in strongly thanks to the outstanding training he has had.

James will not be able to attend my retirement but he has asked our local recruiter to stand in for him as a member of our family. I hope they can make it.

God Bless,

Mike Pulis
Chief of Police
North Mankato, MN

Dear Sgt. Grit, I enlisted in the Marine Corps in April of 2001, before I even graduated high school. At that point in my life, becoming a Marine was the only thing that I wanted to do with my life. I had always wanted to be a warrior, and felt that joining would be the best thing I could do. Well, I landed on Parris Island that following November, and although I broke my foot about halfway through, I graduated a U.S. Marine 22 Feb. 2002 from Papa company, platoon 4004. Unfortunately, my stress fracture was not diagnosed until the first week of MCT at Lejeune, and up until that point I had been told it was tendonitis. To make a long story short, I decided to end my career in the Marines, and was discharged June of 2002. Due to my fracture, I have now developed arthritis, and don't foresee myself reconciling my decision. I have been back and forth ever since then on my decision to leave the Corps. I felt that I was useless to the Corps since my fracture did not heal correctly, but at the same time I told myself that I took the weak way out and could have sucked it up and served my initial 6 year enlistment and came back for more. Nothing I have done since then has given me any closure on my decision, and I'm not even sure I can really call myself a Marine. I feel like I did not earn it. Thank you for your time.

Amanda E. Jones

"If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear."

George Orwell

Poolee Hucks I hope you read this:

Follow your heart no matter the obstacles. If you feel it's necessary to join the Marines then do it. At the end of the day you have to be able to look at yourself and be proud of the decision you made. If those that say they love you really do, they will get over their understandable fears for you and be proud of you as well. I have twin cousins who are Marines; one just came back from his 2nd and final tour in Iraq. I can't tell you how proud I am of both of them. I wear an American flag and a yellow ribbon pin everyday for my cousins and the rest of our military past, present, and future. Trust me, no matter the decision you make your family will come around. Thank you for enlisting and doing what I don't have the