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AmericanCourage #217     07 JAN 2010


I got the best Christmas present any father could ask for from his son. A NEW MARINE! My oldest, Ryan, just graduated from Parris Island Friday, December 18, 2009. He is 3rd Generation to walk down this path, and would like to share photos of family members that have preceded him. In order of succession there is - Grandfather (wife's father), myself & son.

JJ Chervinko's wife's father JJ Chervinko Ryan

There were a total of 8 graduating platoons - 6 male platoons comprised 2nd Battalion, Hotel Company. And 2 female platoons comprised of 4th Battalion, Papa Company. All of these new Marines could not have stood straighter & taller.

On Friday, when Ryan's platoon was dismissed by their Senior Drill Instructor, there was not a mad rush from any of these guys to mom & dad. No! 2088 surrounded this guy to shake his hand & thank him. It was AWESOME!

One of the first things out of Ryan's mouth on Thursday (Family Day) was - "Get me off this Island & Everything here happened to me except getting shot!"

Ryan was given an MOS of an Engineer. Do not know specific job. Would like to hear from others that have had this MOS or similar?

Words cannot describe how PROUD I am of son!

Semper Fi
JJ Chervinko

Mardi Gras Shirts

I work part time at the Veterans Services Office in my hometown and have done so for a couple of years. Last Monday night I was at the Town Hall for a meeting. The town hires an outside group to clean the building and they were working away as I entered. I noticed that the door to my office was open so went to check the files. When coming out a young man who was vacuuming said to me. Is that picture on the wall you. (We have pictures of veterans from all wars on the walls in our office). I said yes the picture is me when I was in the Marine Corps. He asked if I had served in Korea.

When I replied in the affirmative. He took my hand, broke into tears and thanked me for what we did for his country, for his grandparents and his parents and for himself. He said that the freedom we provided him work so that he can attend college here in the United States.

I don't ever recall being thanked so meaningfully in my life.

Lawrence A. Whalenk, CPL
USMCR 51-54
Marshfield MA

Derek and his big sister Derek wearing his Camo Enclosed please find the newest addition to our "platoon". Derek was born last August and came home in one of Sgt Grit's camo outfits. Three months later he's still wearing his camo with pride like his dad. We wanted you to have this picture.

Semper Fi, OOhrah
Derek's big sister
Megan Elizabeth

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And I Quote...

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

My MARINE is back from his tour in IRAQ. I am so blessed & Thankful for his return home safe & well. I continue to pray for all our troops who are still overseas putting their life on the line so that ALL of us here in the USA can be safe!

Sincerely, Rhonda Wilkins

On behalf of the Marines of 3/4, I send you our thanks. I have received several gift boxes from Sgt Grit and each one has a letter form you enclosed. Please extend our thanksgiving to any/all who contributed to the motivational gifts. We are currently in offensive operations in Afghanistan and the support you all continue to give adds to our motivation and therefore contributes to mission accomplishment. Our Marines display the gifts you all have sent in every form and fashion in their living spaces and as they leave the wire to engage the enemy. Again, thank you for all you do for us.
In Christ,
Chaplain Mike Taylor
Battalion Chaplain, 3D BN 4TH Mar

Adopt a Marine

And I Quote...

"I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around the banks will deprive the people of all property until their children wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered."
--Thomas Jefferson (1802)

I'm the son of Sgt Robert Rikeman, USMC Vietnam 1964-1968 - served in Vietnam 67-68.
He made it out but passed away 4pm Nov. 10Th 2006 - birth-date of the USMC no less.

He was a true Marine to the end. He had was diagnosed with the dreaded Pancreatic Cancer disease in June 2006 and was given 4-6 months to live. He was a trooper and fought with dignity, but it brought him to his knees in the end.

I am a drug free bodybuilder, 40 years old at this writing, I weigh 230lbs with 10% body-fat and I'm 5'8". My dad could kick my azs until I was about 20 and he scared me mentally because of that fact until I was about 30. Marines rock. Thank you all & all of your families for your service and sacrifice.

PS: My dad's best friend from boot camp ended up being SGTMAJ Frederick B. Douglass from Cataumet, MA who was murdered in the Beirut barracks bombing 10/23/1983. I went to his funeral with my dad as a young boy and I was amazed how the honor guard stood motionless by his casket and I was moved to tears by how my dad and the other Marines were brought to such a solemn tone by the loss of their comrade. My only other close memory to something like this was when the honor guard gave my mom the flag from my dad's casket at his grave and I burst out into tears listening to the words "on behalf of the president of the United States of America" . ( Personally, I am glad it was President Bush at the time but I digress)

I am unable to serve because I am stricken with HCL leukemia and while it may not kill me directly I'm considered a defect and I am thought of as a potential legal issue with the gov't. If I can do 1/100Th of what you all do by writing this I will be proud in my own little way.

Peace in your hearts to you all.

hi my names Vanessa Rivera, and i live in San Antonio Tx. and my husband is stationed in the east coast in Norfolk VA, he's a corporal in the Marine Corps, i wanted to let yall know what happen to a Marines wife, well i just bought a car and put the Marine sticker on the back of my car like i always do, well two days ago i woke up getting to leave for work and saw that someone had vandalized my vehicle, slitting the tires with a knife keying all around my vehicle and the worst thing of all my Marine Corps sticker then got a knife and out an x and a cross a ruined the sticker with a knife, i couldn't believe what i saw, how could they disrespect the Marine Corps sticker, and they tried to steal my car on top of that, and i only had that new car for one week

Note: It is not just the Vietnam era that got bad treatment. It is still happening now, just a bit more subtle. But the anti- everything crowd is still here. They learned that being openly abusive didn't work. They still hate us and what we do for this great country. Don't ever think they are not still among us, in large numbers. I get many abusive emails from them, Occasionally I will share one with you just as a reminder. But I am a big target with the web page etc.. People like Vanessa deserve better. What a shame!
Sgt Grit

Birthday Ball contest results

On 30 October 2009 Bruce A. Watson, Corporal of Marines 1960 to 1963, after a battle with cancer, arrived at his final assignment. Bruce loved our Marine Corps and he loved our Lord.

Bruce was very successful in his professional life and there is no doubt that his time in the Marine Corps played a big part in that success. Bruce touched many and accomplished much in his profession, but remained so very proud of his time as an active Marine.

Bruce was his boot camp platoons Honor Man at MCRD San Diego. The lessons learned in the Marine Corps helped guide Bruce throughout his life and remained a big part of who Bruce was.

I miss my friend, my brother in Christ and my brother in our beloved Marine Corps, but know that we shall serve at our last assignment together for eternity.

Lance Corporal of Marines 1962 to 1965

And I Quote...

"Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined."
--Patrick Henry

On behalf of the 7th Engineer Support Battalion's Marines and Sailors, I thank you for your support. Your care packages were received by appreciative Marines and Sailors who continue to support Operations Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.

The care packages impact on the morale of deployed service members is immeasurable. Please continue to keep us in your thoughts and prayers as we continue operations home and abroad in the name of our great nation.

We are very appreciative of the people that made your endeavor possible. This demonstration will encourage our service members to continue to do an outstanding job and influence their minds.

Again, we thank you for supporting our troops

Very Respectfully,
RP2 Stephen L. Williams
Battalion Religious Program Specialist
7th Engineering Support Battalion

"True courage is like a kite; contrary winds raise it higher."
-John Petit-Senn

I have a son and daughter-in- law in the Marines and I am very proud of them both. Also many Marines and Former Marine who I am proud to call my friends.

The Marines are known to be America's 911 and I often wondered who they called when they need help. Friday Dec 18th I found out. I was at "Operation Exodus" at St. Louis International Airport in St. Louis, Mo. thanking and wishing the troops leaving Ft. Leonard Wood Mo. a Merry Christmas. I received a call from the Missouri State Captain of the Patriot Guard Riders, of which I am a member, that due to the fact that the Marine Battalion here in St. Louis was deployed they needed help picking up toys donated for the "Toys for Tots" program. Not a problem I thought, what an honor, did they call the Army, Navy, Air Force, no they called a bunch of grey haired old bikers.

Anything I have including my time is at the deposal of the U.S.M.C. anytime.

Oooh Raah!
"Harley Greybear"
Ride Captain
Patriot Guard Riders

And I Quote...

"A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves."
--Edward R. Murrow

From an in-country Company Commander of the Third Battalion, Fourth Marines.

I finally have a minute to sit down and write a letter concerning the past few weeks here in Now Zad. I wanted to make sure that I got the word out to everyone, so please send this out to friends and family that I may have missed on the distro list. I first want to say how incredibly proud of my boys I am. These Marines have been amazing and continue to be amazing. Between them and the amazing support staff that we have in 3/4 that allows us to do quite literally whatever we want to the Taliban, this has almost been an easy operation. Here are the up sides:

1) Not a single Marine was killed or seriously wounded during this operation.

2) We have taken more ground, run off more Taliban, liberated more villages, and seized more weapons and Home Made Explosives than has ever happened in Now Zad. One of the caches of HME that we blew up was over 1100 lbs of HME (for a reference, that's over 16 "Mine-Proof" vehicles completely destroyed) and it was the largest find in Helmand Province. Ever.

3) We air inserted two companies, behind enemy lines, while my company went straight up the gut of the enemy's defense on the ground. The enemy was so terrified that he abandoned his stockpiles and ran away to where he thought he was safe. Some of them ran right into the arms of the British Battalion to our East, some of them we have hunted down since they ran. More importantly, we have begun to HOLD the ground by immediately building coalition positions in strategic locations all over the valley and partnering with the local Police and Army units. Let's not forget, the infantry is a TERRAIN based organization. We don't have to kill people in order to do our job, only if those people don't want us on that specific piece of dirt and wants to come get a taste.

4) We aggressively sought out and crushed a Murder and Intimidation racket that was going on in our AO. (M&I campaigns are used when the enemy has no other tactic but overwhelming fear to instill on the local population. The 'night letters' that were being delivered said things like: "If you accept help from Coalition Forces we will kill your children one by one..." Except that Marines got to the letter writers first. Whammy.

5) We have re-opened a once deserted town to the people and have begun to pay them to clean it up. Quick cash infusion + Heavy labor for young men + promise of more work = no young guys re- enlisting in the Taliban. One of the key components of this plan was to instantly follow up with a Civil Affairs Group that would handle local national problems that weren't related to the Taliban (food, shelter, work, etc...)

6) We have begun Medical Programs for the locals with what supplies we have, and they are limited, but they are able to cover things like burns, and kids stepping on mines (yes, we MedEvac them just like we would a Marine), and skin rashes, and even an infant with pneumonia who is just fine, now.

7) Our engineers breached a mine-field that had completely frozen other forces. Our Danish friends brought some tanks to help us out and they were able to break up one or two ambushes for us. Nothing is cooler than getting ambushed and having tanks with you to respond. Nothing

8) Your Marines stayed on point, in the freezing cold weather, with the rain soaking them to the bone, to hunt down the Taliban who had been abusing, killing, and stealing from the people of the Now Zad Valley.

9) We are bringing back government into Now Zad, so people have an alternative than the Taliban to settle their legal disputes, and have someone to hold accountable for a lack of medical coverage, and to go to with their grievances about farming and commerce and security. They won't NEED us to hold them up any longer.

If all of this sounds like hubris, maybe it is. But I'm so proud of my Company and my Battalion for the planning and the execution and the follow through that they have done. Be proud of your Marines, they did good work in December. Merry Christmas to everyone.

Much Love to all, let your friends know, we're winning and it feels good.

Submitted By
John Wear

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And I Quote...

"I prefer dangerous liberty to peaceful servitude."
--Thomas Jefferson

as a widow of a Viet Nam vet that was NEVER welcomed home and was forced to not tell of his 2 tours, my pride is compelling me to get my first tattoo to honor my late husband's sacrifices


This is an outstanding video about the Patriot Guard....not to be missed.
We are indebted to them for the honor that they pay to our fallen heroes.

And I Quote...

"Still, if you will not fight for the right when you can easily win without bloodshed; if you will not fight when your victory will be sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival. There may even be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than live as slaves."
--Winston Churchill

Hi Sgt Grit;

On Veterans day I was at a local car wash enjoying a freebie for my service. I was wearing my "Retired Marine" red cap. A guy walked up to me wearing a "Retired Army" blue cap.

He asked "Did you wear your retired cap today to get a free car wash?"

Retired Marine Patch on a Hat To which I replied "I wear this cap every day, I'm proud of my service, and it's in honor of those men who served with me."

He turned a little pink and walked away saying "have a nice day" to which I replied "Semper Fi Mac".

Jerry R. Hattox
GySgt USMC (Ret)
1954-1978 RIP

Sgt. Grit,
I proudly served in the Corps from 1985-1991. I was an Avionics Technician on helos. I served 2 tours overseas. I was wondering why it is, that when I run into other Marines out in the civilian world, including guys on recruiting duty, they tend to look down on me because I served in the Air Wing, and not out in the field. I ran into a Master Gunny a few weeks ago at a home improvement center, and when I told him I was an Air winger, he frowned and said "The Air Wing???" Don't the Marines serving in the field realize that every time they step foot in an aircraft of any kind, it was guys like me that made sure those aircraft are flight worthy and they can get to where they are going safely?? I believe we all served our country proudly, whether we sat at a desk, cooked chow, worked on aircraft, or spent our career in the field. I would like to see that respect forwarded on to ALL those that served. Semper Fi and God Bless the Marine Corps!

Sgt. Hendrickson
3rd Marine Air Wing

Get this quote (# 31) on a T-Shirt

And I Quote...

"Our cause is noble; it is the cause of mankind!"
--George Washington, 1779

My husband, SGT Roy S Blake, went into the Marines at 17, in the early 1960's. No long story about where he went, the timing says it all. Three tours and three trips to the hospital, then a young man who wanted to be a Marine for life was out. He was used up an thrown away. Oh yes, he now gets disability but the cost was so high.

He came home to people who did not want to know him. He was literally broken from head to toe. His individual disabilities ratings added up to more than 300. He understood why the Marines had to let him go but, the pain was still there.

Being retired from the Marines in his twenties was more painful than the physical pain. Rehab, therapy, pain meds for life never stopped the feeling of lose. He has things to be grateful for, four children etc. but having the biggest loss a parent can have is about the only thing that is more painful to him than not being in the Corps.

"Once a Marine, always a Marine", is so true. Today in his sixties and a wreck he would give just about anything to be in uniform again. As his wife of 30 years I would too. I LOVE my Marine, now, forever & always.

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And I Quote...

"Let bravery be thy choice, but not bravado."
--Menander (342 BC - 292 BC)

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! My son was promoted to 1st LT this week. He eats, sleeps and drinks the Marines. They just Love him. He also received the Victor/Miller award with a Kimber pistol.

Get this quote (# 82) on a T-Shirt

And I Quote...

"Fortune favors the brave."
--Virgil (70 BC - 19 BC), Aeneid

Please, don't throw that American flag into the trash!

Do you have a old, frazzled flag that's no longer fit for display, that's laying around your office or home and you just don't know what to do with it? Then send it to us! We will properly dispose of it according to federal laws.

Who are we? Visit the Kitchen Table Gang website at for details about us and what we are doing to help veterans and our soldiers overseas, plus giving proper respect for ol'glory.

The Kitchen Table Gang Trust will retire your tattered, worn out and frayed American flags with full honors! Anything else is desecration!

Charles Taliaferro

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And I Quote...

"The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave."
--Patrick Henry

I enjoyed the story from a Marine about the relationship of Seabees to navy fleet & Marines. As a Seabee, I often trained alongside Marines or had a Gunny training us. Marines are great guys and hero's in my sight. I always had much better respect for Marines than other branches of service.

In Gitmo, Seabees in '84 were not allowed to eat chow until the air crews and fleet ate. We were working on fleet projects for moral & welfare! Marines often allowed us to join their ranks to chow. Lejeune was the same spirit and when we built living quarters out of old barracks for the gunny's, they treated us like royalty while the anchor clinkers on base treated us like redheaded step kids. Desert storm 90 and Iraq 03, were assigned to the Marines, which we knew getting the job done was more important than marching around like a pre-Madonna's. Marines never ask for us to do anything that they were unwilling to do! When in the reserves, the Navy centers, the anchor clinkers would not allow working Bees to cross the quarter deck unless we were in class A's or go to chow in utilities but when on a Marine weekend, we were able to continue in our working uniform, thus saving time and getting the job done as we were the maintenance and project people for the fleet.

The black Shoe navy is a great deal of show but when the chips are down, the Marines and Bee's get a tap on the shoulder to make it happen, while the black shoes had all the personal & medical issues to keep them in the rear.

I have always had a great deal of respect for Marines and their training which they passed to us and their courage. UTCS D. Greene (SCW Seabee retired)

We could always trade with the Seabees near DaNang. We would take excess comm gear and trade for plywood, lumber, etc...
Sgt Grit

Musical Car Horn Ordered my third Marine Corps Musical Car Horn last week. This one for my new vehicle. Have had so many humorous incidents with current horns. Too numerous to relate, from the town clerk who stands in window of Town Hall and salutes when I serenade her in passing, to the retired Judge (WW II Radio Operator, Okinawa, China). Great toys for 83 year old retired Marine, WW II, Korea, VietNam.
John E. Godwin, MSGT, USMC Retired.

And I Quote...

"If ever a time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in Government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin."
--Samuel Adams, 1776

Til I Die T-shirts
Til I Die T-shirts

Attitude Is Everything T-Shirt
Attitude Is Everything T-Shirt

God Bless America!
Semper Fi
Sgt Grit