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Pre Christmas Hello Grunt,
I've attached a picture of my fiance, L Cpl Justin Roy. It was taken recently in Iraq and I think that it embodies the strength and courage necessary to be a United States Marine.
Justin will be in Iraq until April of 2009, and we will have an official Marine Corps wedding one year from today on November 14. Thank you so much for your monthly newsletter. It is nice to read everyone else's touching stories and words of inspiration. I cannot express how proud I am of my Marine. I would like to silhouette of LCPL Roy standing on vehicle thank the Marine Corps League for inviting all of the deployed Marines' girls to the Marine Corps Ball in Lafayette, Louisiana. We all appreciate the gesture and will represent our men proudly tomorrow night. God bless our deployed Marines, and Happy Birthday to the Corps!

Marine Corps Fiance Michelle Sobba

Grandson Joshua Joshua wants to be just like Grandpa Tony Fialkowski, US Marine Scout Sniper 2 tours in NAM, Qui-nohn Province, Cho-lai, SEMPER FI Joshua. As I have told him I am a better man today, thanks to the Marine Corps....OORAH

"War concentrates the mind wonderfully."
Samuel Johnson

Marine Corps Swiss Watch I am a retired 1st Sgt- Jan 69- Oct 92. I have many fond memories of my time in the Corps, but the best is when I was returning home from Desert Storm- I was 1st Sgt of D Company, 2nd Amtracs at the time- the initial planning for the ground attack was to use Delta Co as a reserve unit, but that changed once we were in Saudi- Delta Co amtraks were assigned to take 1/8 infantry into Kuwait - we were made up of about 1/3 reservists from 4th Amtraks in Tampa- and they did a outstanding job for us.

Anyway I regress--- D Co flew home in early April 91-- we had a stop in Bangor Maine where we waited for about 3 hours- from what the aircrew told us we were the 1-8th flight of returning servicemen to come thru that airport-- what was amazing was the airport terminal was jammed w/ people from the surrounding towns- welcoming us home--- kids of all ages wanting our autographs- people buying us a drink- and news people there to interview us- from what we were told the citizens all took turns to welcome a flight home-- if all that wanted to be there had been there- it would had been total gridlock.

they all wanted to be there for each plane--- but the thing that still and forever will bring tears to my eyes was what awaited us when we first stepped off the plane into the walkway to the terminal- it was lined with Vietnam Vets welcoming us home and thanking us for our service--- knowing what they came home to 20 some years earlier -- all of us "older" Marines--- from the Battalion Commander and Sergeant Major - to the other senior SNCO's who had experienced the hate while walking thru an airport in the late 60's and early 70's in uniform- could hardly get thru the line shaking their hands -thanking them - without our eyes being full of tears--- it was the most moving thing I had the privilege of being a part of since I was at New River Air Station back in the early 70's to welcome the POW's home- It w as a honor to have them thank me and to be able to thank them --- thanks Sgt Grit your site is great and I look forward to reading it every week

--- Semper Fi

1stSgt Danny Jones (Ret)
Jan 69-Oct 92

Marine resting on top of transport vehicle I just wanted to say how proud I am of our Marines all around the world. My son is in the Corps, 2nd Bn, 9 Mar, G co., currently stationed in Iraq. Over the past 1 1/2 years I have watched my snot-nosed brat turn into a disciplined, well trained, respectful MAN that I once again can be proud of. The Corps has transformed Him into a man that any person can recognize as a United States Marine, even without the uniform. I am amazed at the people who show respect and gratitude when he walks into the room, they say it's the way he carries himself, that confident walk that comes with the knowledge that you are the best there is, that you are a United States Marine. I'm attaching a photo of him in one of those rare quiet moments. His rifle is close at hand, ever vigilant, ever watchful, always prepared to respond.

From a very Proud Father,
Tampa, Fl.

"If we are strong, our character will speak for itself. If we are weak, words will be of no help."
John F. Kennedy

Michael next to Support Our Troops sign Love this web site and the effort that Sgt Grit and his crew put forth is awesome. You cannot deny it........the Corps is a unique fraternity! Just wanted to add my "two cents" to the push to do something to support all of our troops - no matter the branch of service! Here I am, a former member of the Corps from 1959 to 1965 (Platoon 285, 2nd RTB, Parris Island, SC) just trying to do something to add my voice to the call to support all those in uniform.

Michael Knox.......Bridgeport, Washington

United States Marines: Mother, Daughter and Sons August 15th, 1981 I stepped on a plane for the first time to Parris Island South Carolina into a world I knew nothing about. What a wonderful world it was. I left the Marine Corps on February 2nd, 1987. I became a mother of three and "Once a Marine, Always a Marine". My children knew about the Marine Corps. They all insisted that they would never be Marines. At one point in life I believed them. But, it was my foundation and other than my faith, it was what kept my head above water in the bad times and what I could attribute to my good times.

My oldest son, Adam, turned 19 and was going nowhere in life. I had told him to join, but he said no. Then one day; on the right day a recruiter called him. He said yes. Needless to say I was so psyched. Going to San Diego was so awesome. But wait, that same year my daughter, Kathleen, enlisted in the delayed entry program. I was going to be returning to my old stomping grounds in Parris Island along with my parents who had been there 24 years before with me. It was like walking into another dimension; a time machine into my past. She looked so good in that uniform.

There was still one more. He fought and fought with me to leave him alone about it. Even the recruiters didn't push him. They knew, like me, he would walk in one day. He was 18 and I told him to move out and get a job. Well he moved out, but had a terrible time trying to find a job. He said that one day it hit him, "It's only natural to become a Marine like the rest of the family. He knew it wouldn't be a waste of time. Sean asked me to make the call and to go with him. Another vacation to boot camp; it was great.

They all chose because of the foundation they knew it would give them for life and for the educational benefits. The thing I am most proud of; they didn't hesitate because there was a war. They all knew that serving God, country and corps with honor, courage and commitment would make them the good and whole people that they have become. Adam has served in Afghanistan and Iraq; Kathleen is in Iraq now and Sean is going on his first MEU soon.

Former Marine Cpl. Patricia Aragon-De Herrera

"What, you may well ask, will be the end of all this? I would not know! But I would hope that our beloved country will drink deep from the chalice of courage."
Douglas Macarthur

My son joined the Marine Corps Reserves in 2000. He left for boot camp 1 week after graduation from high school in June 2001. I thought that would be the most difficult week of my life. I only had to get through the next 13 weeks and I would be at his graduation in San Diego. The week of his graduation my husband and I had plans to fly to California from Indiana on Wednesday so we could be there for the DI dinner. We took Tuesday off to travel to Chicago and spend the day, then fly out very early on Wednesday. We rose early that morning to shower and finish packing. Little did we know how in an instance that morning our whole lives would change. The morning was 9/11/2001. As planes started to crash into buildings, I started to cry. My first thought was of my son. I knew he no longer was a Marine in Peace time. My amazing husband (a former Marine) called our travel agent to inquire about our flight the next day. She said she didn't know if we would be able to fly or if they would ground all flights. Taking no chances of missing our son's graduation, we packed our SUV and on the road to California by noon that morning. We arrived in San Diego at 5 pm on Thursday afternoon. It was the 1st time in history that the Marine Corps had canceled the pre graduation events. No DI dinner, no family day. We consider ourselves lucky that we were allowed on base for the graduation.

I will never forget the 1st moment I laid my eyes on my son in his Marine Corps uniform. I could not stop crying. The pride I had was so overwhelming. He went on to serve 2 tours of duty in Iraq, 2003 & 2006/2007, for which I served as a Key Volunteer for his unit. He just finished his eight year enlistment last June. When he joined he said he wanted to reach the rank of sergeant before his enlistment was up. He achieved that goal in 4 years. He served his country with pride and I am so proud of him. He chose not to reenlist. He is now married and the father of 2 wonderful children. He continues to serve his community as a firefighter/paramedic. It seems very weird to have a child that is a veteran of a war. I admire my great grandma who had 2 sons and 3 son in laws serving during World War II. I loved them all, but I didn't understand their greatness until now. In my job, I do hiring and I interview all day long. When I have a Marine apply, the interviews take forever. I somehow get off track and we talk Marine Corps. So many of these young Marines are amazed at the knowledge I have the Marines. If they are new reservists they always ask if it is ok if their moms call me. I didn't know back in 2000 when my son joined the Marine Corps, that I would be joining a family. When you have a child in the military it becomes your life also. So to all you new moms out there, hang in there, get involved and it will pass faster than you think.

Proud Mom of Sgt. Lee 00-08

"Freedom is the highest evolved state of civilization that we have, and it can't be taken lightly."
Ken Krimstein

Matt and kids wearing USMC grey sweatshirts Matt and kids wearing USMC grey sweatshirts These sweatshirts are what I bought all the kids last year for Christmas right before Matt the Marine left for Iraq. As you can see they loved them! He is still deployed and is scheduled to return the end of January. I love your website.

Mother Melinda

"Government is not the solution, government is the problem."
Ronald Reagan

Jaden, enjoying his USMC rocking chair Just wanted to share a pix of my grandson, Jaden, enjoying his USMC rocking chair which this grandma got him for his third birthday from Sgt Grit. Jaden's dad and mom are Sgt Chad and SSgt Marisa, who are serving as members of the Parris Island band.

Semper Fi
Laura, proud Marine Mom

lit USMC Seal jack o lantern USMC Seal jack o lantern For the past 3 years that my some has been in the Marines. My husband has carved a pumpkin for him. We managed 292 pumpkin this past Halloween, and every year the Marine Corps pumpkin has been a huge hit. When we tell people it is to honor my son, Bryan & all the other Marines for their brave service, they tell us how great those men & women are. My husband is still trying to find a NAVY stencil for our daughter-in-law. Here's a pic of the pumpkin..before it was lit and after. Thank you all Marines & service personnel, stay blessed &

Catherine Riddle
Very proud mom of LCPL Bryan Woiewucki

"One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors."

Christmas Countdown The following is an e-mail I recently sent to the Principal of the Middle School my daughter attends. The School is named after General and President Eisenhower...

I'm saddened to hear Eisenhower Middle School had no program to honor our Veterans this year. As I understand it, there has been no such program in any ones memory, other than some individual class room discussions. As a Marine Corps Vietnam Veteran from the early 60's... I'm surprised... but I'm sure "old Ike" would understand. I remember coming back from "Nam" after a couple of different America was. There were no banners, no parades.... the mood in America had changed. I was no longer welcome as a Marine. I remember putting my medals away and hiding the terrible memories of war deep within myself...never to speak of them again. For over 40 years I had felt an emptiness and a sense of guilt until a few years ago when an Elementary school invited me to their Veterans Day program.

Hundreds of children looked me in the eyes and thanked me for what I did. It was was the first thank you I had ever received in over 40 years, and on that day, a day I will never emptiness began to fill. The next year I was asked to give the Veterans Day speech....I gladly accepted. This year again, I was asked to me another opportunity to see the proud young faces of our future America... I got to see their Mom's and Dad's, their Grand Parents......many in the uniform of one of our armed forces. I thought America would never again forget the sacrifices our Veterans have made and the sacrifices their Mom's, Dad's, Uncles, Brothers..are still making today. I guess all school's are not created equally....I'm sure "Old Ike" would understand. I guess it's all about time and priorities. As for me, I'll never understand...but that's the difference between an old tired Marine and a past General and President.

Semper Fi
Sgt J.L. Dutra (Old Corps)

71st PLT MCRD SD 1943 Hello again Sgt. Grit...

My FIL's platoon pic from 1943. I believe he said it was April of '43. He does not even remember this picture being taken and was quite surprised that I had gotten my hands on it! My son enlisted in April of '03 under DEP and graduated from MCRD SD in 2004 and we received his platoon picture; I inquired of my FIL if he had a platoon picture and he said no, they didn't do that back then. So armed with the Platoon # and the year and his name, I contacted the museum out in SD and they were able to send me this picture... he is in the center row, 3rd from the left - Amos Konop. After boot he went to Okinawa and was in the thick of things in that invasion (my son also went to [a very different] Okinawa after boot camp!). He says he was in the "Air Corp" and worked on airplanes, rigging them to carry bombs. So I am just wondering if anyone else out there has a family member who served during this time and was in the "Air Corp" - would love to hear from you. Amos is now 84 years old and still kickin'!

Happy Veterans Day to all - and THANK YOU for your service!

Candas Konop
Proud MOM & DIL of Marines

"It's nice to be liked, but it's more important to be respected."
Ronald Reagan

Tomorrow is a meaningful day for me, as well as many. Since I still get goose bumps during the National Anthem, I felt the need to share this to those I care about.

I am proud to be the niece of a soldier, who made the ultimate sacrifice for his country. Uncle Edward, who I was nicknamed after 'Edi'. He died during the Vietnam War. Proud Granddaughter of Grandpa Butler, who served and Grandpa McCool who served. I have the honor of knowing what it is like to be the Daughter of a soldier. I remember time after time, the heartache of saying good bye, and watching the plane disappear into a speck in the clouds. He never complained about picking me up for a bear hug, fully loaded down with gear, nearly his own weight. Or never complained about the spoon he had to keep for good luck. (I still have his picture, after a several day road march, bristly face, stocking cap tugged over his ears, breath showing in the cold, but a clean spoon sticking out of his pocket)

I remember rationalizing as a small child, (When others were only concerned about Barbie's missing shoe) Daddy might not return, and I would have to be a big girl.(Isn't it funny how these moments shape us?) And I was one of the lucky ones, because not only did Daddy come home, but he told all the people on the plane, there was a seven year old girl who would break his legs if he didn't come off the plan first. (Yes, one of the passengers told us so) And Daddy did come off the plane first, even though he was seated in the back. Growing up in the Military, I tasted sacrifice while moving from school to school (I can still see the lines of the Highway). And I knew when it was appropriate to hug my Dad in uniform and when not. I learned all about controlled fear after squeezing a mustard packet on Dad's Dress Blues (Yes with him wearing them). So it was only natural having served in the military as a military Brat, that I joined, and found it to be a difficult test. So difficult that I wrote home to Dad halfway through basic training and this is what I said, "Dear Dad, I am doing the best I can, but I could really use some more support." Two weeks later I did more push-ups for a care package with a letter attached from Dad.

It read "Hey Kid, I have been where you are, your tough, I believe in you, I'm proud of you. P.S. I sent you some extra support. Love Ya Dad." (1st Sergeants don't like to write out or say the word YOU when followed by LOVE) In the package were two 'Ever last' Sports bra's. Ahhh support.

I had the honor of serving far from home. You couldn't keep me from smiling and waving to the camera while boarding an international flight (from h&ll). It was a small taste of sacrifice, but worth every bite. And of coarse I had a Veteran supporting me who remembered what it was like to be home sick. And Friends and family cheering me on. I received cards, letters, chocolate, a vintage bicycle that some crazy "Jar Head" painted OD green and put on white letters that said SPC Browne MP, equipped with a bell. DING DING. I even got letters from strangers, that all communicated pride. Support even in the simplest form was fuel for a safe return.

I was a lucky one to come home (No doubt because of the spoon in my pocket). When I came home, my supporters were lined up yelling, clapping, smiling, crying, and cheering. The handshakes and hugs went on for a long time. It was a great reassurance that I was where I belonged, and my time away was not a waste. And yes it even made the sacrifice more significant.

I have been honored to have supported a soldier, far from home, and know what they are going through, and wish I was next to them, keeping them safe. And like so many others who support the troops, I prayed, worried, lost sleep waiting for that 0300 hour e-mail from them, and waited anxiously for a safe return.

Once again, I was a lucky one, who witnessed two large planes land and saw my soldier enter a gymnasium. It brought back the same familiar feelings I had growing up. I promise to continue the circle of support, because one has no purpose without the other. I have been humbled to still receive thanks from a few who still believe in God, Country, and Sacrifice. I am truly thankful for those who have not forgotten.

Thank you for your service and your support. God Bless those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, the families and loved ones who supported them, miss them, the soldiers, and those that continue the circle of support.


"The preservation of the sacred fire of liberty, and the destiny of the republican model of government, are justly considered as deeply, perhaps as finally, staked on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people."
George Washington
First Inaugural Address, April 30, 1789

"Love your neighbor as yourself and your country more than yourself."
Thomas Jefferson

I woke up this morning to my daughter calling and wishing me a Happy Birthday. She is in the Coast Guard, but knows the Marine's are the ones this Nation always calls FIRST when there's trouble. I am a retired Gunny and very proud of the Marines of today Corps. They are fighters, I was in C/1/5 in Nam and a Cold War Marine, but these Marines are battle hardened. They deserve this Nation's Thanks and every time I meet one I show Him or Her the Veterans hand shake and sometimes a hug, because great men and woman hug and Marines are great so they can hug too. The Marines of today always show their respect for this older Marine by calling me Gunny. HAPPY BIRTHDAY MARINES.

GYSGT Retired
Porky C1/5 F/21 G/2/1

Gavin's Letter My grandson wrote this letter to his uncle on Veteran's Day. As you can tell he worships his uncle and wants to be a US Marine someday. His name is Gavin Jones and he is 9 years old.
Toye Little

"Guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism."
George Washington

Tom had arrived in Viet Nam the first week of February 1969 after graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy. He was on his first assignment as a rifle platoon commander, leading a platoon that had been serving together for a while. Dennis (nicknamed "Ski") was Tom's radio man and was his right hand man during any mission. The company had taken several hard hits, some Marines losing life or limb from unknowingly walking into a minefield. The assignment this time was to conduct company-sized sweeps of an area west of Da Nang in an effort to deny North Vietnamese forces passage through that area.

As Tom tells the story: "We ran into some booby traps on the 26th, and had one Marine Injured. As we were walking in a column formation through some very dense vegetation, Ski was about 5 meters in front of me. All of a sudden he turned around and stuck his hand out with his fist balled up, which meant "freeze." I looked at him and asked him what was going on. He said, "Sir, I think there's something down there along the trail." I looked down, and there just above the worn path was a faded green string running across the trail. Ski had stepped across it, realized what he had done, and then turned around in time to stop me from stepping on it.

We called the Combat Engineers to come take a look, and what they found sends shivers down my spine to this day. The string went into a small bush about 10 yards away, and was attached to a 105mm artillery shell. After clearing everyone out of the area, the engineers detonated it. Had I stepped on that string, I would have blown myself, Ski, and several others from here to kingdom come! Ski was 19 years old; I was 2 months shy of 23." Time passed. The platoon parted, each returning to their hometowns and life went on. Decades passed. Because of the technology of the internet, one of the guys decided to track down his old buddies. Addresses circulated.

Tom noticed Ski's address on the list. A short time later Tom sat down and penned his friend a letter, thanking him for the role he had played in his life. Without him, Tom said, he wouldn't have met and married his wonderful wife and had the three beautiful kids they raised. He wouldn't have had a lengthy list of other experiences he had been able to live for and enjoy. He dropped the letter in the mailbox, not knowing that Ski was depressed, seeing a psychiatrist, and thinking of suicide. Years earlier in Viet Nam Ski had saved Tom's life. The letter, written 30 years after the event, saved Ski's. When Ski and Marge visited Tom and his wife in January 2006, Marge told them that she firmly believed that Ski getting reconnected with his Marine buddies was likely the only reason he was still alive.

This update on the story arrived from Tom a few couple of weeks ago on April 2, 2008: "Just a few days ago Ski had an emotional breakdown at the hospital. I talked with him at length, and I knew he was really depressed about his physical condition from the ailments he's developed and the constant pain he lives in. Again, he was wondering if it was all worth it. His daughter sent an e-mail out to our group of guys asking for our help in giving Ski support and encouragement. His phone has been ringing off the hook since then, and one was from a guy we both admired who had not seen, nor spoken to, Ski since 1969. That call, in particular, really pumped him up. When I talked with Ski last night, he sounded upbeat and positive. Marge said he was 100% better than just 2-3 days before." Sometimes we just need to know that we have made a difference.

And sometimes we need to remember to tell someone else that they have.

My family has always been taught to love and respect the Corps from my constant badgering. We are holding our 9th annual Toys for Tots Christmas party at our house. Anyway, when discussing this party, my 14 year old daughter told me she was joining the Navy and then giggled. I snapped my head around to see if she was serious or not, to which she replied: "But dad, I want to be a Corpsman. I know they get respect from all Marines". I didn't think I could be prouder than that moment. Now 16 year old son is on the kick of going to OCS to be a Marine officer so I will have to call him Sir. He knows I will.

G Torres

"Our obligations to our country never cease but with our lives."
John Adams

Robin Taylor with SSGT Kenner Semper Fi Marines. I have a special Prayer request for a fellow Marine that is in the hospital fighting a battle of his own right now. His name is SSGT Manford James Kenner. Jim is one of the one niners from the Viet Nam era. He received 6 Purple Hearts in his life with the Corps. His blood has stopped producing what ever it does to make more blood. He fell at a Veterans Day function and has been going down hill ever since. Enclosed is a picture of him. He is Marine to core. I told him he had to get well cause his orders hasn't been cut yet for that trip to guard Heavens gate. This picture was taken last year at graduation. My husband and Jim Kenner and another fellow vet received their high school diploma's through our local school district. The lovely lady standing next to Jim is his wife Becky Kenner. Of course they were the highlight of the evening cause all of them were in their dress uniforms. Needless to say the standing ovations and rousing applause brought tears to everyone. Please join me and our friends and fellow Marines in Prayer for a very special person in our lives. Thanks.

Robin Taylor, wife of SGT Dearl W. Taylor. Disabled Vet. proud to be Marine!

I was recently told of this site and I can't tell you how much I enjoy it. It takes me back to my active Marine Corps days that I think of often.

Keep up the good work and Semper Fi to all brothers and sisters in the field.

J.R. Halliday
SGT. 1963-1967

"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free."

Ronald Reagan

WOW. I just watched the video of Col Ripleys funeral and read the entire story. Such an honor to a Great Hero of our times is to Honor all Marines of yesteryear and today. I was so awe struck at the video, my wife asked what I was watching but such a lump in my throat prevented me from answering. May your memory live forever Col Ripley. REST IN PEACE.........

Semper Fi
Frank Rigiero USMC "56-60"

Sgt Grit,
I serve on a board of directors for a electric co., and one of our directors son is a Cpl., in the Corps who just returned from Iraq. I was e-mailing him when in country and when he returned a few weeks ago called me and presented me with our flag that they had flown over their outpost on 9/11. It almost brought tears to my eyes as it makes no difference when you served or where, we Marines are always thinking of each other. I had a brother KIA at the Chosin, brought him home in 54 and will fight and die for my Corps. Cpl Travis Bator is a great Marine who again keeps our Corps what it is. As I read in this news letter I would be ready if my Marine Corps wanted me, but as my shirt reads "not as lean not as mean but still a Marine". Sgt Peter Wojciechowski 53-56

"It should be the highest ambition of every American to extend his views beyond himself, and to bear in mind that his conduct will not only affect himself, his country, and his immediate posterity; but that its influence may be co-extensive with the world, and stamp political happiness or misery on ages yet unborn."
George Washington

Hi Sgt. Grit,
I am a new Marine mom. My only son just graduated Boot on the 5th of Nov. in San Diego. Words can never describe the pride I feel in my heart being a single mom and having my only son join the few and the proud. I think what makes me even more proud, is the fact that they really are the few. Learning how many don't make it, makes me appreciate his efforts even more. He recently made a purchase from you and now I get your newsletters, COOL! I have got to tell you first thing, I'm a VERY proud mom and with me it's all things Marine. I'm from the Ozarks of Missouri and I love my Boots and my Camo, so him joining , got me a cool new ward robe. OOHRAH! Once you join the family, it's for life! I could kick myself now for not joining myself. But I'm just glad that, thru my son I have joined one of the best families in the world. He is the Very Best Part of me, OOHRAH! I also want to tell you that I think you posting these letters is the most awesome thing anyone could ever do. Semper Fi to you Sgt. Grit. I tip my hat to you Sir.

VPMM of Hebb, Nick, L.
2nd Bn. Echo Co. Plt. 2107

RE : Mark Gallant...Marine L/Cpl...66-69 > Song to the "Green Beret" tune sung by Barry Sadler, only Marine style ... I won't attempt all of it, but the best part goes:

"One hundred men, got laid today But only three, were the Green Beret ... "

Sgt. Kent M. Yates
1989310 62 - 68

"Patriotism is as much a virtue as justice, and is as necessary for the support of societies as natural affection is for the support of families."
Benjamin Rush

When I was in boot we were told "outnumbered" was not in our vocabulary. We just had a "target rich environment". Now years later I just used that in a presentation this month on our business outlook for 2009. It broke the tension of the meeting and actually gave some resolve to the participants. Forbes said the Marine Corps was the best business school in America, and I concur and strive to prove Forbes to be correct.

Chris Bailey
85-87 (blessed to be a Marine that never had a weapon aimed at him in anger - at least that I know of) 3rd MAW

I am not a Marine, nor will I ever be. Nor am I of your country. I did serve mine in a time of peace, in my youth long ago. I never did see the elephant and I am grateful now that I never have heard a shot fired in anger. Despite our differences the poem CPL Williams wrote touched me deeply. It is a thing of beauty and yet it hurts. It is a strange thing this, that although it is we that stand against each other in battle, we are also the ones that can feel a bond beyond the nations we serve.

Thank you.

David Lindahl
Draft Sergeant, Retired, Swedish Army

Yes, the Sgt Grit/AmericanCourage Newsletter spans the globe. Spreading truth, courage and the American way to all who will read it.
Sgt Grit

"Gentlemen, you will permit me to put on my spectacles, for I have grown not only gray, but almost blind in the service of my country."
George Washington

This is for you to read and pass on if you see any thing worthy in it to do so. I write this in response to the story I read about the Marine out of boot with the three punks. Punks are always punks. Scared and bullying.

Four years in Marine Air Wing after boot at Diego in February 66. Millington Naval Air Station is where I got my schooling on Radar for the F4B Phantom jets right after boot. While I was there we participated in a series of sports activities on a Friday that was a competition between the Navy personnel going to school there and the Marines in school. Naturally there are more Navy than Marines. After the competition was over that Friday I went out in Memphis about 20 miles away as I usually did. Now this is the story.

I do not remember if we lost the games or not but my memory says maybe we did. Very late at night I was walking through a park I knew well. It was down by the river. There is a diagonal path to cut across the entire block to get back to where I was going to stay that night at the CSO. There was no one around. Earlier the Navy boys had put out the word that they were going to kick any Marines as that they caught or came in contact with. Therefore I was wary of them. Well what do I see on this path ahead of me when I am well started on the diagonal across an entire city block but 3 squids coming straight at me. Ok, its late very dark and I think one I can't run because then they are at my back and I can't take another path for they will just follow me. I had no idea what I would do but I knew I was going through them and not stopping. Yes I was scared and kept my wits. Now they are about 200 feet away. The threat was real to me and I didn't want to deal with this but here it was so deal with it.

When I got right up to them in arms length I could easily see there were four of them not three and I said in a calm voice just loud enough for all there to here and with no quivering in my voice " I have someone else with me." As I passed through this small crowd of squid, never faltering, all but one of them was looking out from the group to see in the dark who else was there. Not a finger was laid on me. The forth squid and I looked squarely in each others eyes very briefly but knowingly. He knew exactly what I meant. What I said I did not think up. It was put on my lips as I needed it. And Jesus was with me then as he is now. I did not look back but kept on walking to the CSO. No trouble at all after it had seemed very dire.

Bravery or bravado no. It was how do I face this threat and either calm or confuse the situation so that I can walk away unscathed and my opponent does not follow after me. This is only one time but similar situations also happened while I was growing as a Marine.

By the way the Corps is the last bastion of hope in this country to save it and we will save it in many yet unknown ways. Remember to keep the faith in Corps and principles of our country no matter how bad it seems. Semper Fi to not only all Marines but all who are faithful.

Gene Ayers
Former Sergeant E 5
1966 - 1970
Nam Chu Lai thank you for listening.

The newsletter reminds me of my son's story. Four Marines and some army went into Baghdad for foot patrol. When they had problems the army said we are out of here. My son said you are just going to leave us. They said yes but the four Marines stayed. Again, Marines don't leave. This was last winter.
A proud Marine mom.

The Gregory J. Harris Military Courtesy Room at Syracuse Hancock Airport Hi Everyone!

We thought you all might enjoy the attached photos. As some of you know, a local Marine Corps League Detachment decided that the troops traveling in and out of Syracuse needed some space and a comfortable setting during some long lay overs, often even over night. There is a large Army base, Ft. Drum, just an hour north of here, whose soldiers use Syracuse Airport as their primary source for commercial air travel. So, the Commandant of the Emerald City MCL Detachment, Loren Davies together with hsi friend and Army Veteran Leroy Bowen, coordinated with the airport and the City and were given space at the airport and a $1 a year lease for the space for 5 years.

As the Commandant of the MCL learned about a local Marine Corps family whose loved one, Cpl. Gregory J. Harris, was captured in 1966 in South Vietnam and was still unaccounted for, he insisted that the room be named in his honor. The Harris Family were all beyond words and so proud that Greg's name was attached to something that would have a positive impact on our military.

The Gregory J. Harris Military Courtesy Room at Syracuse Hancock Airport On July 7, 2008, the City Common Council approved the project unanimously and on July 29th we had our official Ribbon Cutting Ceremony, attended by representatives from all branches and the Mayor was on hand to cut the ribbon. This Military Courtesy Room is one of only two known rooms like it in airports across America, run solely by local folks with a heart for our troops.

Now, three months later, the Military Courtesy Room is in full swing and thanks to the wonderful donations from local folks and many local companies and organizations, we are in a very good place. We estimate that to date some 2500 troops have passed through our door. We like to say that we are like a USO, only better. We have not connection with the DoD and can make all of our decision on a local level and everything in our rooms, from the plastic forks to the microwave to the laptop computer were all donated or paid for from monetary donations. Additionally, we do not charge the troops a cent for anything in the room, everything is complimentary. We also have coordinated a shuttle which leaves from the Room twice a day between the airport and Ft. Drum providing free transportation for the soldiers. Other branches of service who are simply traveling through the airport have all the ammenities of home and the Room is staffed by a group of some 60 volunteers who take 4 hour shifts from 7 am to 2 am or even later if need be. They are, without a doubt, the best group of volunteers ever.

Finally, something positive has come from Greg's loss...

"It is the soldier, not the reporter,
Who has given us freedom of the press.

It is the soldier, not the poet,
Who has given us freedom of speech.

It is the soldier, not the campus [or community] organizer,
Who has given us the freedom to demonstrate.

It is the soldier, who salutes the flag,
Who serves beneath the flag,
And whose coffin is draped by the flag,
Who allows the protester to burn the flag."

Father Dennis Edward O'Brian, USMC

"Every time that we try to lift a problem from our own shoulders, and shift that problem to the hands of the government, to the same extent we are sacrificing the liberties of our people."
John F. Kennedy

Sgt. Grit,
Don Yoder's story reminded me of an incident that occurred a few years after I "returned to the world" back in 68'. I was on a date along with 2 other couples in New York City before it became one of the safest cities in the U.S. while returning to our car after dinner and a show we were accosted by 3 punks. My date and I were in the middle of the group when one of the street scum grabbed the first guy by the lapels and said "Give me some money". His date clutched her purse close to her body and he began to whine "Don't hurt me". Astonished, I placed my left hand on his right shoulder and gently moved him out of the way as I hit his assailant square in the snotlocker as hard as I could. He went down and out. I then asked his associates if they needed any money and they declined saying "No sir". My "sweetheart" and I broke up shortly thereafter because of my "violent reaction" to this incident. She thought we should have given them some money to avoid trouble. I "didn't get it". Still don't.

Semper Fi, Sgt. Jack Quigley, Trk. Co. 2nd FSR, H&S CO. 8th Motors, B Co. 11th Motors.

"Pacifism is a philosophy employed by those who know that others will protect them."

'Snotlocker'....Geeezzzz I haven't heard that term since June '68. And you heard it hear, what a great job I have.
Sgt Grit

Sgt. Grit,
I can not say thank you enough for your news letter each week I can not wait to read it!
I don't go to bed until I finish reading it, not to interrupt my wife's sleep I bunk on the couch set my cell phone alarm to make to work on time after dropping the kids off for school. I am very surprised to find out not too many of the Corps brothers I run into do not know about Sgt. Grit, well needless to say I have many converts. Keep it coming!!!

Hmmm....Not sure I want to be known for causing Marines to sleep on the couch. Although, I usually work on this newsletter late at night and I do tiptoe into my bedroom so as not to wake MaGrit.
Sgt Grit

"In proportion as the structure of a government gives force to public opinion, it is essential that public opinion should be enlightened."
George Washington

Major General Livingston Congressional Medal of Honor Winner, 1968 and Dean Smith Major General Livingston Congressional Medal of Honor Winner, 1968..Vietnam War, then a Captain, and me at the 2008 Marine Corps Commandant's Birthday Ball

Dean Smith

SgFritz--you are doing a very dedicated and needed service, not only to the USMC, but to the others that were associated with them. Thanks over and over.

And me and why I writing you:
First, I was in Navy Squadron VB142. We flew the, then new, PV1's(Vega Venturas) Our action was always related to the USMC. And first--my squadron was loaded onto a small "Jeep" carrier that had the Navy's most powerful catapult installed. Our plans were equipped with the hardware necessary for launching them from the carrier. We left Alameda in a severe storm, and at night. Our speed was 6 knots and we were by ourselves. After several days an announcement was made that Japan had been bombed by B25's. Our speed picked up and we made it into Pearl. When I asked out skipper "why did we have the attachments necessary to launch installed" he just pulled his hat down over his ears and walked off. We were next if Dolittle hadn't been successful??? We will never know I guess.

Next to Midway:
What an experience for an 18 year old. Then to Canton---When the 2nd USMC landed on Tarawa and the runway was scraped off my plane was sent with the admonition: "We do not know the condition on Tarawa. If the runway isn't useable land in the shallow water, wheels down, and they will pull you in with a bulldozer. We did land on land as slow as it was possible to go. A bull dozer pulled us off the runway. Two weeks later we were able to start patrols. Imagine an 18 year old landing in the midst of, on an island of about 300 acres, with the temp at 125F, and at least 2000 dead Marines and probably 3000 Japanese in the hot sun at 60 nm off the equator. When the squadron finally came we started our mission. We sank 27 ships and bombed regularly, and from 200 feet, the Marshals. We were thru the Marianas operation and were operating off Majuro, Jaluit, Kwaj. as they were taken by the USMC.

We always had a small crowd whenever we took off or landed. We were fast and carried 6 bombs in the bomb bays. All our action was at under 250 feet.
Anyhow, many decorations were awarded.

I, about 1980, bought a farm near Gorman, Texas--A small irrigation equipment place was in DeLeon, Tx. There I bought some equipment there. When the owner, D.D. Lowry, was putting it together, and I was walking alongside him, he said "You were on Tarawa!" I was amazed and asked if I had a sign on. He said "I was in the Marines in the second wave there. Only TWO of us in the first waves made it ashore alive". "And you did notice that whenever you took off and landed there were Marines watching? I was one of them. And I was there whenever you were painting a ship or a bomb on your planes' nose?"

And now--He and I became very close friends but he has recently died. No one knew of his experiences. They do now and I prepared a pack for his daughters sons so that they can get the full effect. Complete with pictures. He got his first wound on Saipan. And in closing---it was a long while between Tarawa and 1985. I was recognized!!And the other day, 2008, I was in Wal-Mart checkout line. Someone slapped my shoulder and said, I guess loud enough because everyone turned to look, "Lets get some sticks an kill some rats" - With much laughter. I saw a face that looked familiar but could not name him. We talked about the "disasters" on Midway and we, now, were laughing about them. When I said "the worst one was when the still blewup in the chow hall and burned it down".. I think we attracted everyone's attention. It is funny now. Anyhow, he was a USMC that had been on Midway FIVE years without leaving because there were no replacements. They were there on their own. I cannot remember his name but I do remember him. These experiences relating to our relationship with the USMC are always recalled.

And recently, my neighbor at my farm died. He was with the USMC when they were putting the flag up on Mt Suribachi and was blinded and severely injured with a mortar explosion. He asked for no help and was always was here when I was doing something outdoors and asked for no sympathy AT ALL!
T J Mayfield
PO 1st Class

"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground."
Thomas Jefferson

I just wanted to thank personally Richard Stelk for his dedication and helping the young Soldiers, Sailors and Marines. We don't have a local USO chapter in Cincinnati. If there were a chapter here I would join. My son, a US Marine, has a couple of times used the USO facilities around the country to crash for a couple of nights. In St Louis my son and a couple of his Marine brothers slept overnight in the USO in the St Louis airport. They gave the men food and had magazines and TV to watch. I actually was moved by your account of the Marine you rescued stranded in the desert. I am so proud of your organization and kindness in return the Marine Reserves collect thousands of toys every to give to underprivileged children every Christmas. My son stands guard at different collection points to receive the Toys and he is glad to do it. He served one tour in Iraq.

Thanks again Richard Proud US Marine Dad Joe Hawkins father of Corporal Bryan Hawkins

Sgt Grit,

I've been a fan and customer of your site for a few years now and for the first time, I must correct you. You responded to the Marine who was b!tching about your site and wanted to unsubscribe, by stating "I believe we as patriots are not sheep, but the wolves."

You are wrong Sir. When I went through the academy for my civilian job, I heard a phrase that applies to us Marines. "We are not wolves but sheep dogs who keep the sheep protected and the wolves away... But as a sheep dog, once in a while, you have to bite a sheep."


SSgt Perez
4th LAR, 4th MarDiv A.k.a. Border Patrol Agent Perez, DHS.

"It is of great importance to set a resolution, not to be shaken, never to tell an untruth. There is no vice so mean, so pitiful, so contemptible; and he who permits himself to tell a lie once, finds it much easier to do it a second and a third time, till at length it becomes habitual; he tells lies without attending to it, and truths without the world's believing him. This falsehood of the tongue leads to that of the heart, and in time depraves all its good disposition."
Thomas Jefferson

A few weeks ago, a man I served with in the United States Marine Corps passed away. General Robert H. Barrow was the 2nd of two Commandants of the Marine Corps I served under. While I doubt he would remember me he was a wonderful man and a great leader that held all Marines up as special people and revered them as individuals regardless of rank

He came to Guam in the spring of 1981 and was touring the US Naval Magazine where I was stationed as a Guard Platoon Leader. I had the honor and privilege of him inspecting my guard platoon which was on duty. We were standing outside the Restricted Area on the edge of the Guam jungle when the entourage of associated Navy and Marine officers and senior enlisted men and women left leaving the two us alone for 20 minutes. Just him, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, and me, a First Lieutenant infantry type grunt.

He was first to break the silence by congratulating me on my recent selection to the rank of Captain. Barely getting the words "Thank you, General" out of my mouth he went on to say that he was sorry to hear that I was resigning my commission and leaving our Marine Corps.

I explained my decision, that is, our daughter, Andi, had just been born and that while I loved the Marines, I did not ever want to be apart from her or Candy for extended periods of time which would be the case staying in the Marines. Also, having been in service for nearly 5 years, it was time to decide to stay on with the Marines as a career or move on. I chose to move on.

He told me he hated that however he also congratulated me on my resolution. Shaking my hand he did more than just wish me the best of luck. He told me to go out there and make the "rest of us Marines" proud in whatever endeavor or vocation or business I chose to follow and reminded me that I would always be a Marine. I hope and I pray everyday that I have lived up to his charge.

Below is the announcement of General Barrow's passing. The last sentence sums it all up. Even though I haven't seen him in over 28 years, I will miss him greatly. Semper Fi, Sir!

David Norris
1976 - 1981

Sgt. Grit,
I read your publication every week and enjoy it more each time I read it. I truly feel sorry for the young Marine who had the B***'s to tell each and every one of us that we have "Mostly blind idiocy masquerading as patriotism in your publication". I for one love to read the stories of the past and present Marines and their families. I think that Mr. Mark Twain would roll over in his grave for having this young Marine quote him on some thing like this. I served in Vietnam, K Co., 3/5, 1st Marine Division in 1968 and 1969 and I find it offensive to have her say some thing like that. We all show our Patriotism in different ways and the next time the young Marine is in an airport some place and someone thanks her for her service I hope that she has the B***'s to tell the person who said thank you to him the same thing that he told you.

Semper Fi!
Ray Westphal
Gunnery Sergeant of Marines (Ret)

"No country upon earth ever had it more in its power to attain these blessings than United America. Wondrously strange, then, and much to be regretted indeed would it be, were we to neglect the means and to depart from the road which Providence has pointed us to so plainly; I cannot believe it will ever come to pass."
George Washington

Re: Unsubscribe note:

Would someone please get the bucket and tent pegs ready and drum Liane P. out of the Corps.

Mike Mooney
A Proud Marine
Cpl. of the Marines 59-65

Sgt Grit Newsletter:
In response to Never Volunteer (60-64)
Rifle Range
I remember the rifle range at Camp Matthews. My thoughts of the tents with the bare dirt floors and the field conditions throughout the camp. The dust could get into our rifles or BAR'S, but we took special care to keep them clean and in good working order. I did good with the M1 rifle and later on at Camp Pendleton, I took a special interest in the 45 cal. 1911 pistol. After graduating boot camp, I was happy to learn that I would be assigned to an MP Company, in Japan. My father had been a Judo Instructor, in my home town and I developed an interest in the Japanese culture. And here I was going to Japan. The irony of this is that after a couple of years in Japan, I was assigned to Camp Matthews, to serve as a rifle coach. Seems like my mission in the Marine Corps had come full circle. I must say that my experiences in the Marine Corps has made a stronger and more well rounded man in this society. I owe a lot to the Father and the Marine Corps. My Father is my mentor and the Corps was my commitment. Attitude is Everything! SGT Rock (59-62)

A week ago on the service addition of the Price is Right, the Marine color guard from the RS Los Angeles came on stage to post colors. Low and behold the Flags were being carried backwards. The Marine Corps flag was on the right of the American flag as you face them. Unless someone c