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AmericanCourage #206     06 AUG 2009

If there was ever one comment that expresses all of the feelings that those of us in combat have felt (bravery, pride, fear, sarcasm, etc), it the quote by the young Marine in Michael Yon's excellent piece: "Livin' the dream, Sir!"

Semper Fidelis!
Bob Chaney

Sgt Grit's 1000th Shirt

Mark A. Yenichek II in Dress Blues My oldest son Mark A. Yenichek II
Graduated 6-26-09 FROM Parris Island.
It rained the day of graduation so it took place in the all weather facility, couldn't get very good pics. Here are pics of the Motivational run and family day.

Marines in gear Yenichek's Motivation Run

My # 2 son was so inspired by the Marine experience he enlisted the following week. He will leave for Parris Island in October.

My oldest son is currently in the School of Infantry. His younger brother is following in his boot prints. They are both going to be 0311s.

Mark Yenichek and his three brothers Mark Yenichek and family on Family Day

My family has a long Naval and Marine Corp tradition. I could swim so I was Navy.

Top 20 for Christmas

Siera wearing her favorite T-shirt that reads Lean and Mean like my Grandpa Sgt. Grit,
Thought you might like to see a picture of my granddaughter wearing her favorite t-shirt that I got from you. Also is a picture of my license plate with her name on it. In Ohio there is no extra charge for Veterans Plates. Thanks for all you do.

Ted L Dixon Sr. Cpl of Marines 1973-1976

license plate that says Siera

And I Quote...

Act and you shall have dinner; wait and you shall be dinner.
--Klingon Proverb

I need to apologize. I let a poser, fake, wannabe into my last newsletter. A few have gotten through over the years, but not as easy to spot as this last one. And some have been questionable, but upon a follow up email it is faulty memory or honest mistakes on the writer's part.

I contacted "THE" MGySgt and got a less than convincing reply, and no reply to my follow up email. I am in the process of handing over what I know to an organization that should be very good at this.

I understand that the some of you have been working with the POW network. If I can be of any help to them please have them contact me at

Again, I apologize. There were so many red flags in his picture it is embarrassing that it got past me.

Semper Fi
Sgt Grit

Reading your site about Navy Mark I knife...

Over the last three years I've been trying to walk a few steps in my father's combat boots. This past June I was in Normandy for 65th anniversary activities and made two parachute jumps out of a C-47 with the Liberty Jump Team. My father was 508th PIR attached to the 82nd Airborne. I thought it odd that he carried a Navy MK1. Somehow I thought maybe he had traded his own M-3 away for it.

Major Chester "Chet" Graham, former commander of 2nd Battalion HQ Company, was able to enlighten me. The regiment was independent. Therefore it had leeway to procure certain equipment as it saw fit. The army M-3 was viewed as too thin and to easy to break. It was feared breakage could also occur if a soldier sat or fell wrong on the sheath. Its' leather was rather flexible. Thus the 508th obtained the Marine issued Mark 1. The slightly shorter blade was view as better for hand to hand fighting and broader also meant and stronger. Plus the grey plastic sheath was thought of as tougher protection.

I confirmed this story with Captain George Miles who became the procurement officer for the regiment. He wasn't in charge in the early days but agreed with the story's logic.

You may know all this but if not - you do now.

Leland Burns
Author - Jump Into the Valley of the Shadow Secretary - Liberty Jump Team Editor - Diablo, Newsletter of the 508th PIR Family and Friends

US Marine Corps Special Shirts

Dear Sgt. Grit:

Semper Fi!

I can't tell you how much I love your site.

I am 64 years old and live in Arlington, VA.

I was born in Norfolk, VA so I grew up around the military (particularly the Marines). I had a boyfriend back then. We were together from the time he went to Boot Camp in PI almost until the end.

I moved up to Arlington, VA/Washington, DC in 1965. We graduated from High School together and went to our prom together. Everyone thought we would end up together but he enlisted and I went to nursing school. We stayed in contact all the time he was gone. When I moved up here in 1965 he was in Portsmouth, VA. In 1966 he went to Viet Nam (he was in 1st BN, 4th MAR at Chu Lai). We stayed in contact all the time he was gone and I saw him when he returned. He stayed in the Corps and went back to Viet Nam but this time he did not come back to me.

I will never forget getting that horrible phone call from his mother telling me that Fred was gone. I just sat down and could not believe it. I had just had a letter from him earlier that day.

Of course, he was buried at Arlington. His family lives in NY. I go out there almost every weekend to talk to him and just to be near him. I went out there Memorial Day and always go out there on Veterans Day.

I really think about him on my birthday because it is also his (October 28).

I just feel that he will always be near me.

Thank you Sgt. Grit for doing this. I enjoy the newsletter and all the articles.

Semper Fi always!

Eileen Marcus

And I Quote...

"Nothing so strongly impels a man to regard the interest of his constituents, as the certainty of returning to the general mass of the people, from whence he was taken, where he must participate in their burdens."
--George Mason

I enjoyed reading your stories about some of our famous leaders and entertainer who were once Marines. You left out one of the most famous Marines ever. Hugh O'Brian (TV"s Wyatt Earp). He was and always will be the youngest Drill Instructor in the history of the Marines. He enlisted at age 17 and was made a Drill Instructor shortly thereafter due to his military school training. His real name under which he served is Hugh Krampe. This information can be verified on Wikipedia, his web site, or any of a number of other web site devoted to him. I hope you will include him in a tribute some time soon.

Thank you,
Sharon Crompton

Hugh O'Brian (YouTube)

The Smebys Our Grandson Stephen Watt graduated from Champlin Park High School June 7th, 2009, he becomes 18 years old on Aug. 1st and will leave for Marine Boot Camp on Aug. 10th. Stephen has wanted to be a Marine for a long time and during the last year of school he committed to the Marines and his desire to serve his country with the support of his family. On July 12th we hosted a big party for friends and family to give Stephen a big OOH-RAH send-off. Stephen's Ooh-Rah Party

He gave his special family members pins to "wear for him" and rubber-band bracelets to his brothers, sisters and friends. Stephen was captain of his high school wrestling team, played hockey and enjoys sailing, a wonderful young man who will be a valuable addition to the security of America!


And I Quote...

"It is not actual suffering but a taste of better things which excites people to revolt."
--Eric Hoffer

Recently my wife and I took our 8-year-old Granddaughter for a week vacation in the Black Hills. The thing she most wanted to do was go horseback riding.

We wanted to avoid the mob scene of 50 people riding in line near Rushmore, so found Paradise Valley Trail Rides in Nemo, SD, about 15 miles out in the hills. As fortune would have it, the owner, Paul, is a Marine vet. He took just the three of us on a terrific ride, showing us old gold mines, Indian burial sites, and so on. Our girl liked it so much, we were back the next day. Paul again took just the three of us out. We had a terrific time--another example of Marines taking care of Marines.

Former SSgt Robert A. Hall

Sgt. Grit:
Just wanted to tell you a little something. I am currently staying with my parents. My father served in the US Army. My Uncle in Vietnam with the army. My son Cpl. David Dickerson is currently serving in Iraq. Due home in August. Received a phone call last night from my son. Boy, that one phone call meant a lot. We haven't received one for almost two months. I was reading your newsletter and wanted to tell each and every one who has served, now serving, or families of the ones who are serving or have served. THANK YOU EACH and EVERY one of you. Nothing can express my gratitude of the freedom I have as much as seeing our flag and reading the stories of all who have served or are serving. Thank you so much. It means so much to me and my family.
Semper Fi Cpl. David Dickersons Family.

"Redistribute my work ethic!"

PFC Brenton Zenor I enjoyed reading your email. The post about the family that visited Southern Cal in January made me smile. My son graduated boot camp on Jan. 16th of this year and lLooking at the pictures made me remember that day! :-) We are SO proud of him! He is at his first duty station presently and is scheduled to deploy to Afghanistan in just a few months. Thanks so much for posting stories about past and present Marines. They're all a part of this forever family we've been thrown into by our son and we are SO proud! :-) (My husband, father and older son were all in the Navy, so this is a change for us!)

Semper Fi!

Wendy Zenor
Proud Mom of PFC Brenton Zenor

PVT Garrison standing in front of Navy Cross display Pvt Garrison, a third generation Marine. He graduated boot camp July 10th 2009. The first generations are Grandfathers (mom) Jessie Perry 47-51 and J.W. Garrison 56-59. I am the second generation Garrison Paul 79-91.

Your Brother and Bond Servant of Jesus Christ Paul Garrison

And I Quote...

"If we can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people, under the pretense of taking care of them, they must become happy."
-- Thomas Jefferson

Sgt Grit,

I just wanted to give a big OOHRAH to Lance Corporal Yeager, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, Warlords deploying to Afghanistan October 2009. Keep my son in your prayers.

The Proudest Marine Mother that there ever was.

Hey Sgt. Grit!

At 63 years of age I still consider myself a "Marine Corps Brat" and proud of it. My dad was a career Marine for 27 years. M/Sgt Verle Dwight Cutter - fought in WW II at Bataan & Corrigidor where he was taken prisoner (written up in Readers Digest April 1944). He was also a China Marine. He also was in the Korean War. If you carry the book "Prisoner 83" he was written about in there also.

Over the past year I've started corresponding with an old friend from high school who was also a Marine Corps brat and who served eight years in the Marine Corps himself. It's like we picked-up where we left off.

The purpose of this missive is to tell you about a "light bulb" moment I had (they are rarer by the day!). I spent 15 years in law enforcement and worked at four different agencies - only one stands out as a place I still have "cop" friends - Orange Police Dept. in Southern California. I believe the reason we are all still close and get together once a year is because nearly every darn one has served in the Marine Corps!

Even though I was married to a "Squid" as dear old dad called him - there is still nothing like "Esprit de Corps".

Semper Fi Sarge,

Sue Esrey
Henderson, NV

And I Quote...

"The propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right, which Heaven itself has ordained."
--George Washington

Sgt Grit,
What's in a name? The other day I was in a store doing some shopping, myself and an older gentleman approached the counter at the same time, I motioned for him to go first as I was not in a hurry. This prompted conversation and I asked the same question as I do most men his age and asked him if he served in WWII, he said, "yes" I asked which branch of the service? His reply was, the Army, the Marine Corps would not take him because at that time the Corps had a height restriction of 6'4". He then explained he went all the way through WWII, from Normandy to Germany.

No big deal you say. When this gentleman signed his credit card I noticed his name. His first name was Lejeune and that's all you'll get, but, when I said something to the effect of " You know I know of only one other name with the word Lejeune, and before I could finish my sentence, I know when to talk and when to shut-up, he looked at me and with a soft voice said,"Camp Lejeune was named after my grandfather!" Could have knocked me over with a feather!

How often does a Marine get to experience something like that, once, twice? I do have Felix De Weldon's autograph before he passed away. Who is Felix De Weldon??

And, here is to GySgt Charles H. Perkins, truly a Marine's Marine and a poster Marine at that. He, is "who I wanted to be like." Gunny Perkins was killed at Khe Shan doing what Marines do, 'protecting the sheep'! Shall always remember Gunny Perkins for his honest advice, his giving to younger Marines when they needed $$, his attention to detail and his words of advice, " you are a Marine, first and foremost and you will always be judged by the uniform to wear." Semper Fi, Gunny..

Bill Priest - USMC 64-68
BLT 1/5 RVN 65-66

I recently wrote a book about my transformation from being a failing high school student to becoming a professional in the Marines and civilian world. It is my sincere hope that someone can read the book and find hope for their own future. I have exceeded my own expectations for this life and it all started with me becoming a United States Marine. From traveling the globe to protecting our nation's secrets, I am very thankful for the opportunities I have been given and the book is a way to express that. Attached to this message is my email campaign. It is a vehicle used to promote the book in the digital age. It is my desire that whoever reads the book will find humor, love, success and pride.

Respectfully Submitted,
Michael Ross

And I Quote...

"The sacred rights of mankind are not to be rummaged for, among old parchments, or musty records. They are written, as with a sun beam, in the whole volume of human nature, by the hand of the divinity itself; and can never be erased or obscured by mortal power."
--Alexander Hamilton

Your newsletters always bring a little light into this VERY dark heart of mine.

1/2 3rdMarDiv Vietnam Veterans holding Reunion
14 August 2009 Portland, OR

Get Reunion Details

Hey Sarge,

Not only do you provide an excellent market for all Marines to buy Marine Corps "stuff", but you provide a great site for us to inform, reminisce and just enjoy sea stories. I think that these stories and pictures from Marines should be shown to recruits in Boot Camp to let them see the pride that Marines have in the Corp. I think it would be a great additional motivator and inspiration for future Marines. I've been discharged since 1964 but still get a burst of pride in having joined and belonged every time I visit your website.

Semper Fi

Wm. Joseph- "60"-"64"

A positive attitude will not solve all of your problems but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.

Very...."PROUD"....Marine Mom (YouTube Video).

And a bit about ROK Marines.

Proud Marine Mom

And I Quote...

"I have only two men out of my company and 20 out of some other company. We need support, but it is almost suicide to try to get it here as we are swept by machine gun fire and a constant barrage is on us. I have no one on my left and only a few on my right. I will hold."
--1st. Lt. Clifton B. Cates, Navy Cross, 2 Distinguished Service Crosses, (later Commandant), USMC, July 19, 1918 commanding 96 Company, 6th Marines, near the French town of Soissons.

Marines Shorties I just wanted to send a short note to thank you. My boyfriend has been deployed to Iraq I believe on his 6th tour there. Before he left he bought me underwear :) and I have since bought tank top and t-shirts for myself.

Back to the point, thank you for sending me your newsletter, thank you for publishing stories. Having more of an understanding helps one appreciate the sacrifice and dedication that these men go through. Helps keep understanding on the homefront so to say. I am fascinated by the stories you publish. It opens my eyes to the community of the Marines and understand why they call each other brothers. Also much more than I can list or really even explain, but I wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart to opening the door to this world during my waiting time. :)

Mary Beth Robbins (Marine's girlfriend)

IN MEMORIAM. Col. Allen R. Bacon, Jr., USMC (Ret.), a Double Distinguished Shooter and many-time member of the President's Hundred, former OIC of the Marine Corps Shooting Team and long- time participant and leader in target shooting competitions passed away in Huntsville, Alabama on 30 June 2009 at the age of 61. Col. Bacon earned his Dis�tinguished Pistol Shot Badge in 1978 and his Distinguished Rifleman Badge in 1982. Col. Bacon's obituary is available at; his biography is posted in the record of Distinguished shooters at A true friend of the shooting sports is lost. Condolences are extended to Col. Bacon's family.

Mark Sasak

And I Quote...

"In the end more than they wanted freedom, they wanted security. When the Athenians finally wanted not to give to society but for society to give to them, when the freedom they wished for was freedom from responsibility, then Athens ceased to be free."
--Edward Gibbon

Sgt Grit.

I would like to relate the story of a forgotten group of Marines. My father, George E. Young, an army veteran of World War II, served on Bataan, was captured, and survived nearly three and a half years of captivity in both the Philippines and Japan. While a POW, dad was billeted with Marines from the 4th Marines, and often went on work details with these men.

Dad said the the Japanese guards seemed to be more brutal to the Marines than to the other POWs. While at the famous Cabanatuan POW Camp on Luzon, dad met Soochow, a mongrel dog that had been with the 4th Marines since their time in Shang hi. Soochow suffered the same depredations as the rest of the POW's, and dad said that others besides Marines would often share food with Soochow.

One day dad was on a work detail at Nichols Field when a Marine that dad knew was accused by a Japanese guard of stealing food. The work detail was called together, and the Marine was brought before the other POW's. The sergeant of the guard told the detail that the Marine had stolen food from the guards, and that he was to be punished. Dad knew that the Marine was in poor health, and would probably not survive a beating, so he stepped forward and told the Jap sergeant that he had took the food. The Guards commenced beating dad severely enough that he had to be sent back to Cabanatuan to recover.

Several years later, at a reunion of the China Marine Association held in association of the American Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor, dad was invited to the 4th Marine Banquet. At the banquet, dad was made an honorary member of the 4th Marines, and was given an Eagle, Globe and Anchor emblem, as well as a plaque and certificate denoting that dad was hereby allowed all the privileges of being called a Marine. I don't know if it was official or not, but dad was sure proud of the honor and the plaque. When dad passed away back in 1999, I made sure the the badge was buried with him.

I know that wherever that place is that soldiers, sailors, Marines, and airman go to after this life, dad is sitting down with his 4th Marine and 31st infantry buddies drinking San Miguel, and talking about the good old days before the war. As for dad's opinion of Soochow. Dad always said that Soochow was the smartest Marine he ever knew.

Ralph Young
Former OS1(SW) USN

Sgt. Grit,

My name is Christen Booth and I receive your catalog. I first started looking at the catalog thanks to my ex-fiancee' of 4 years, Gene Smith of Baytown, TX.

Gene was a 2000 graduate of Ross S. Sterling High School there in Baytown and also was in ROTC there and when he started ROTC, he thought himself to be a Marine. Sadly, Gene would not be able to go into the Corps due to physical limitations. But that never stopped him from loving the USMC and forever waving the flag proudly in his home.

I don't know if you have gotten word from his family, so I am sending this thinking that they might not have let you know, but, Gene passed away June 22, 2009 in Houston, TX at the age of 27, with his mother (Diane), his sister (Robin) and his uncle (Robert) at his side. Gene was one of those who would never let something like illness get in his way, it just wasn't something he did. He suffered through sickness all his life and I know that he is guarding the streets of heaven with the many other great men and women of the USMC and other great branches of the military, too.

Because of Gene, I got to love and respect the Corps that much more. I have friends and family that are (and were) in the Marines and let me tell you that I have the utmost respect for any man and woman that puts on that uniform and fights for my rights. I have gotten things from your company and wear it proudly and will do more so in memory of a wonderful man who never got to really wear the uniform, but never stopped being a Marine just because.

To Diane, Robin, and Michelle, on behalf of my family and other friends of Gene's, we are thinking about you and praying for you and know that Gene is protecting us along with his father at his side and many other of our brothers and sisters in arms.

Thank you Sgt. Grit for your support of those on and off the battlefields, in war and in life. Semper Fidelis!

Christen Hume Booth

And I Quote...

"Fear is the foundation of most governments."
--John Adams

I want to thank you and your "Brothers", for our freedom. I am the mother, sister and niece of Marines and I couldn't be more proud of these men in my life.
God bless the Marines!
With gratitude, Gloria Winn

I would just like to take this time and tell you thank-you for all you do there at; I think I have become one of your best customers. We lost our son March 15, 2009 in an auto accident while home on leave from the Marines, Camp Pendleton CA. taking care of family business before he shipped out to Afghanistan with his unit in Oct. or Nov.

Besides for the day he was born we have never been more proud then the day he received his Eagle, Globe, Anchor pin, WOW what a day that was! Then the day after the accident the Marines were there for us thru it all, what a GREAT bunch! My husband and I want to keep his memory alive and want to keep close to the Marines; I guess that is why I order so much. Please keep up the good work and the best phrase in the whole world has now become Semper Fi, I get chills every time I hear it. Thank-You again!

Teresa Breen

And I Quote...

"Back in the thirties we were told we must collectivize the nation because the people were so poor. Now we are told we must collectivize the nation because the people are so rich."
--William F. Buckley Jr. (1925-2008)

Sgt Grit

Even though I don't necessarily feel like it, Guess I'm a member of the Old Corps, having served in the U S Marine Corps August 1953 until August 1956. After Boot Camp in San Diego, I was excited about going to Japan or even Korea but wound up in the Disbursing Section, of the H&S Co 2nd Inf Trng Regt MCB, Camp Pendleton, Calif. Most of the troops were all in either Korea or Japan and there were few Marines on the base. It was somewhat boring but once the Marines began coming back home our camp picked up with more inspections and more discipline.

I wanted to go overseas, but unfortunately was transferred to a new unit called Marine Corps Test Unit #1, which was about 5 miles further in to Camp Pendleton. Marines were trained on the A B C - which was Atomic, Biological and Chemical Warfare. I was in Disbursing there and was able to make Sergeant, still in Disbursing.

Our Unit witnessed an Atomic Bomb blast, we flew to Desert Rock Nevada, and on the Mercury, on to the Desert about 60 miles out, and we were in Trenches about 5,000 yards from where the bomb went off on a tower. I was honorably discharged in 1956, and have always been very proud of my time in the U S Marines, I know what it means to say Once a Marine, Always a Marine even though I did not fight any battles, I was ready to go and I was in a support unit.

We have in my hometown a Korean War Veterans Club, which I joined and became a Vice President, and the only other Marine was a Sgt who fought in the Chosin Reservoir battle which was one of the toughest battles of the Korean War. We have become good friends, and he calls me "Hollywood" just as most of the guys do in the club. They accepted me as one of them, even though so many of the guys fought some tough battles in the Korean War, and I continue to see myself in the Support mode, as I want to be part of the guys lives as we all grow old together. So many people who served in the Second World War are passing on, and now it is getting to be our turn as we reach the 70's and 80's, of life.

What great Americans ....We are blessed to have the kind of people that we have in the USA who are ready, able and willing to serve our County. My Hat's off to all.

Sgt Darrel B Whiting Jr

Story of Lima 3/25 losses in iraq during OIF3 from March 3 2005 to Sept 29 2005

we left ohio for iraq
and readied for the fight
iraq was boiling over
getting farther from the light

our mission it was simple
to go and calm the fear
of locals in al anbar
by cordon search and clear

it started out so easy
but may would soon arrive
and we would lose our first Marines
ubaydi'd come alive

then on across the river
to the north and west we rode
in tracks that smoked and shuttered
and one would soon explode

first platoon was hit again
unlucky had they been
for in three days in early may
they'd just lost 8 good men

before the month was over
new market would arrive
and 1 more of our good Marines
would not go home alive

june was hot and dusty
as we fought from town to town
but this month we were lucky
for no man had gone down

a painful blow was dealt again
on a foot patrol in hit
we tried to save the corpsman
but he died within a week

In cykla there would be more pain
while knocking on a door
a team leader and radioman
would soon lay on the floor

in the heat of early august
another blow was dealt
an amtrack would lie twisted
as more pain and grief was felt

11 was the number
on that day of august 3rd
when in our column's file
an eruption had occurred

the number 23 would stand
from then until october
then lima did come shuffling home
their mission it was over

But none in rank or column
on that grey october day
would ever forget their brothers
or the price that they had paid

And I Quote...

"It stands to reason that where there's sacrifice, there's someone collecting sacrificial offerings. Where there's service, there's someone being served. The man who speaks to you of sacrifice, speaks of slaves and masters. And intends to be the master."
--Ayn Rand

The individual that join the Army, Navy, Air Force, Etc., that I've met, don't have that since of pride that a fellow Marine you meet has. Young or old, a Marine has a since of pride that will never waver. Marines will away be faithful to God and country. This Marine is proud to have served with his follow Marines that will always be his brothers (1970-1973).
Semper Fi
Steve B.

5th Marines Change of Command album.

Freedom is not free, but the U.S. Marine Corps will pay most of your share.

Sgt Grit;

Have you seen this article that came out today? It's about a Marine that defended himself and his family from a starving mountain lion with a chainsaw while they were camping.

Read the article

It's a true case of "Once a Marine...."

Always Faithful,

And I Quote...

"I think we have more machinery of government than is necessary, too many parasites living on the labor of the industrious."
--Thomas Jefferson

Does anyone remember qualifying at the rifle range at MCAS, Kaneohe, December 1964, with Mike Company, 2ndPlt., 3rdBn., 4thMar., lstMarBrg? Hint, only three (3) qualified expert that day. WHY?
Bill Priest - USMC 64-68
BLT 1/5 RVN 65-66

My name is Peter Allegretta. I served in the Marine Reserve from 69-75. I was in boot camp @ P.I. from June -August 69. Plt. 193 Bravo Co. Ist RT. BN. In my Platoon we had JO JO White #10 who played for the Boston Celtics. He too was a reservist. I remember him well, as he could run forever and not get winded. He did as well make PFC out of boot camp. So there is another famous Marine for the record.

Semper Fi
Sgt. Peter T. Allegretta 69-75

P.S. I was instrumental in the creation of the first Gold Star Mothers Statue in the United States. I was also the first Marine to be awarded their first American Gold Star Mothers Distinguished Service Medal, of which I am very proud of.

USMC Embroidered Cover
USMC Embroidered Cover

I May Look Harmless T-shirt
I May Look Harmless T-shirt

God Bless America!
Semper Fi
Sgt Grit