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AmericanCourage #224     15 APR 2010

Family of Marines We are the Marines. 5 Marines, one family making up the USMC Air Ground Combat Team. 12 Tours in either Iraq or Afghanistan.

We have had at least one family member in these wars every year for 7 years and at times two of us were deployed at the same time.

Proud husband and father of this family
Vincent G. Suetos, Retired

Father's Day Shirt

In This Issue...

Simply an OUTSTANDING picture above. Some well written diverse opinions on "The Pacific". Or course all the stories are well written!?%$&! We all learned how to use the language properly from our DI's and later from our Gunny's and 1stSgt's.

A letter about a new recruit having a bit of trouble with this new form of communication. Many answers to the question "What makes a Marine do what he does?"

A story about too many sandbags, poker, Corpsmen, Darvon, and years later the VA. I have posted the last group of responses to the Gunny's Dilemma to my Sgt Grit blog. There is also an interesting story about Okinawa during WWII and a concern about the Movie "Full Metal Jacket".

The Sgt Grit Facebook continues to grow and the fun continues with 12,000+ of my closest friends.

Fair winds and following seas.
Sgt Grit

My name is Tom Madigan, I was with Service Co., 7th Engineer Battalion, 1st Marine Div. in VietNam, from May 1967-June 1968. For 9 months I drove a M51A2 Dump Truck and the Chaplain's Jeep for 3 months. This is kind of a cool story of how the Chaplain got his Jeep and Engineers get things done. (as well as I can remember)

Our new Chaplain (Father Haryasz) arrived January of 1968. He had no driver or Jeep. He ask for both and was turned down. Being an E-5 Sgt.(0311) in The Marine Corps during WWII, the chaplain had a lot of connections in the Corps and the Navy. He contacted this old Seabee Chief and made this crazy deal to get a Jeep. I will tell you the deal in a little while. This is how I became the Chaplain's driver.

I had just pulled into the motor pool after a very scary day on route #5. We had just lost 2 Dump trucks on route #5 to land mines. 2 drivers from my company and 5 Marines from the 7th Marines were wounded. One Vietnamese was killed.(that's a whole different story) The dispatcher called me in the office. He said: do you want to get off the Dump trucks? I said may-be for awhile. Well I became the Chaplain's diver, with no Jeep.

Now the story of the Jeep. My first day as his driver we took my Lieutenant's Jeep to the Officer's Club in DaNang. Father Haryasz and my lieutenant went in the club and came out with a big box. My Lieutenant said: head for the Seabee base near F.L.C. Lance Corporal, we're picking up the Chaplain's Jeep.

We headed for the Seabee base (somewhere by Red Beach) where we met this old Navy Chief. The chaplain had me bring the box in the office. The Chief said that they had an old Jeep that was being junked out and we could have it for a case of Rum. Well, guess what was in the box. A case of the best rum ever made. The Lt. called for our wrecker and 2 of our mechanics, to tow the Jeep back to Camp Love The Seabees gave us a ton of extra parts and away we went towing the Jeep back to Camp Love. Everyone in the motor pool helped rebuild the Jeep. It took about a week to get ready. To this day I don't think anyone ever questioned where the Jeep ever came from. That little Jeep took us all over I Corp, bring spiritual aid to any Marine that wanted it.

Father Haryasz heard one day that some grunts at a remote L.P. wanted to hear mass. The L.P. was at the far end of Happy Valley. I told the Chaplain that we needed at least 2 or 3 trucks to go that far out. We should not be alone out there. He just laughed and said: lets head out alone, after all we've got the Lord with us. Man was that a scary trip. Father Haryasz was one of the nicest men I have ever met. The Marine Corps was really lucky to get him back for awhile.

Always a Marine
tom madigan

July 4th Shirt

Sgt. Grit,

I wanted to post a couple pics of my truck that I just had a custom paint job done.

Christopher Marlin

Hood of red Marine Truck USMC Bulldog Tailgate

Sgt Grit, I just thought you would like to know that three Marine recruits on their way to sign their papers and be sworn, in Cleveland were killed in an auto accident outside of Warren Ohio the first week of April. Even though they had not been sworn in as Marines, a detail of Marines were present at their funerals and a flag that draped their coffins was presented to the families. To me this showed respect to their future brothers and to the beliefs of the Corps.
Joseph Aubel

And I Quote...

"I am a Marine masquerading as a civilian.
Being a Marine is what you carry on the inside."

--Author Unknown

"The Pacific"

Sgt. Grit.
I agree with GySgt. Rousseau's review and thoughts on the series titled "Pacific". I wondered who they hired as technical advisor, because I am sure it was not someone who was present in those operations. The errors are too many to list, a good example is the filthy language. We were "salty", but not to the extent that Spielberg and Hanks have chosen to air. I do speak from experience, Okinawa, China, Korea 1944-1953.

Sgt. Edward F Hoffman #561153 USMC.

Read More Pacific Responses

Memorial Day Shirt

Dear Sgt. Grit,

If it's Christmas or my birthday, my wife is on your website ordering for me. But I especially want to thank you for my recent purchase. Over my computer at the office I have your bumper sticker: "Don't you quit on me, maggot!" I read it several times a day for motivation.

You see, about four years ago, I was diagnosed with Interstitial Lung Disease which has now developed into Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis. IPF is not well known, even though it kills more American each year than Breast Cancer. Unlike Breast Cancer, it's incurable, except for a very small minority lucky enough to get and survive lung transplants. Once you have it, you will likely die from it unless you stretch it out long enough that something else gets you. But there are no pink ribbons, no postage stamps and no big "Race for the Cure" every time you turn around. And IPF gets only a small fraction of the research dollars that are spent on Breast Cancer research. Those who want to know more about IPF can go to

The motivation helps because I still go to work every day to support my family despite being short of breath and a nasty chronic cough. About half the people who get IPF are dead in four years, so I'm pretty lucky. I'm in much better shape than most with IPF at this point. I'm not on oxygen yet, though I see it coming through the wire.

I'm not complaining, here. I'm a very fortunate man. I've already, at 64, lived longer and better than 98% of the humans ever born, and I'm shooting for 99%. I was born in America, have a wonderful family and I had the great privilege of earning the right to wear the Eagle, Globe and Anchor.

Don't quit on me now - Bumper Sticker Still, it helps when I read your bumper sticker and hear one of my DIs shouting in my ear. I say, "Don't you quit on me, Maggot!" to myself a lot.

I usually sign my posts, but ask you to hold my name on this one. I don't want my buddies to think I'm looking for sympathy. As the old Gunny said, "If you want sympathy, Marine, you can find it in the dictionary between sh-t and syphilis!"

Thanks again. Keep up the good work. Semper Fi.
~An old Jarhead.

Sgt. Grit,

I am sending you this letter to let you know that we have a Marine in the making. My young nephew, Christopher John Wombaker is in his second week of Boot Camp. MCRD San Diego.

I received a very short "letter" from him today asking for advice on all of the yelling and screaming the Marines do. LOL. he has never be yelled at much.

Actually I did brief him on that before he shipped but I don't think he heard a thing I said. Too excited to go and be a Marine.

Now that reality has set in, and you know the story. LOL! I wrote him a 6 page letter with plenty of motivation. Yup.

Pretty much told him to just suck it all up and take it.
Do as ordered and nothing more until ordered.
Do not show off, as he is an amazing athlete.
Don't get cocky, save that for 3rd phase.
And by God listen to your Range Instructor at Edson.

I am very proud of Chris and when he does EARN the Eagle, Globe and anchor, and comes home on leave, I will personally bring him to Sgt. Grit. For his personal K-Bar.

We live a couple of hours from you in Tishomingo. Way to your South. See you in June. I look forward to meeting you.

Thanks Sgt.
Semper Fi.
Cpl. Smith, Danny C.
USMC 1986-1990.

And I Quote...

"The liberties of our country, the freedom of our civil Constitution, are worth defending at all hazards; and it is our duty to defend them against all attacks.
--Samuel Adams

John Fleak in MP Uniform

This was taken in 1969 at MCAS Iwakuni, Japan.
Sgt. John Fleak. MP, H&HS, MCAS, Iwakuni, Japan.

Sgt. Grit. This is a reply to the letter written by Mrs. Linda L. Bentley.

I did not read the article that was sent to you by a "Mr. Mathias", but if you or your son, or Mr. Mathias has any doubt that Band members of the United States Marine Corps are NOT Marines, here is a little bit of history.

1) If you or your son can find your way to Hawaii, read the Wall of 7 December 1941, and how many Bandsmen were killed on that infamous day,

2) Marines assigned to ships during WWII even though they were Bandsmen were A.A. Gunners.

3) There is The Marine Corps Band stationed in Washington D.C. called "The President's Own".

4) If you or the above named writer looked into it, you would find the 3d Marine Division Band, while stationed in the sand box preformed as Bandsmen during the day, and pulled guard duty at night, and finally,

5) There is an organization called "The Marine Corps Musicians Association". I am quite sure These People consider themselves and their Fellow Members to be United States Marines.

James Angelo, Band-member U.S.M.C.R.D. Parris Island '59 - '65

Note: A few weeks before I got to DaNang in March 69 the 1stMarDiv Band was in a fire fight and lost many KIA and WIA. Also the President's own sometimes are enlisted without having to go to boot camp and spend their entire career with the band.
Sgt Grit

Answers to: What makes a Marine do the things they do?

Marines do what they do because they are more afraid of letting the Corps and their fellow Marines down then they are of death itself.
W. Michell
Sgt. 65-71, 75-77


Sgt. Grit,
A question was asked by a Marine wife and mother after watching the Pacific on HBO. What makes a Marine do the things they do such as Dan Daly and John Basilone to earn the Congressional Medal of Honor? Is it adrenalin, fear, or what?

I think it is a combination of two things the character that the individual brings and the attractiveness and effectiveness of the training that life in the Marine Corps offers.

Most Marine recruits are 60% sold on the concept before they join and the other 40% comes from the "challenge" to be good enough to make it. Much of the lore of the Corps is available for those who want to know it to find out about before they sign on. But as always they don't promise anything but a rifle and a hard time. It's the individual who picks up on this and makes the best of the situation based on the early training he or she receives when they have the boot camp experience.

They go in knowing that the hazing and the stress are for a purpose and then they learn about the John Basilone's and Dan Daly's. The Belleau Woods and the Tarawa's or Iwo Jima's. They see the Marine Corps colors with battle streamers that represent those campaigns. They learn that they have to stand on the shoulders of those who filled the ranks before them and that they cannot ever let that tradition down. You have to be that good because 230 plus years of Marines are watching and counting on you to hold up your end. Many go through their service time and are never called on to be the one who holds the position, but others are and when it happens they do it.

Remember the two Marines standing guard on a post in Iraq when a determined truck bomber cut down their street approaching their position and both Marines stood their ground firing at the truck's driver (it's on a surveillance video) and taking out the driver. He winds up missing his objective but killing himself and the two Marines but others are saved by their actions. What made them stand their ground when all basic human instincts told them to bail out of there? It's many things. It's that standing an inspection over and over again. It's going to the rifle range every year. It's passing the PT test every year. It's spit shining the dress shoes every week. it's getting that set of dress blues perfect before putting them on. It's getting the last little detail correct for a "junk on the bunk". Its snapping to attention when the first strains of the Marines Hymn start up. It's standing or walking the last hour of the guard duty when no one else is around but you and God but doing it because it has to be done and done right. All of these feelings which are burned into your brain and cause you to be the one to hold the line if required.

Whether you were in the infantry or assigned to any other position during your time in the Corps you were ready if called up on and that is the mystique or the bond that answers General Pershing's question in WWI about why the Marines are different that the others who fill the ranks of the nation's armed forces. He said "Why in h&ll can't the Army do it if the Marines can. They are the same kind of men; why can't they be like Marines. Gen. John J. "Black Jack" Pershing, USA; 12 February 1918."

According to him "they all come from the same background from the same country. Why are they different?" He's right they do come from the same parts of the country but they come with a different attitude, remember the 60% sold on the concept? That attitude gets molded and formed under very stressful conditions and hardens their internal steel that allows them to qualify to wear the uniform of a Marine. It's then becomes a commitment that makes two Marine aviators take on 40 Japanese fighters over Wake Island. Or a John Basilone man four machine guns in the middle of an attack. And since its in the mind and heart of the individual it doesn't go away when the uniform is taken off. Thus the reality of the phrase "Once a Marine, always a Marine". Maybe this can in some way answer her question as to why the Marine Corps gets such people.

Semper Fi

LCpl. William Fortune
USMC 1959-1963


Some Marines are very motivated & seem to just know what has to be done. True leadership in a nutshell. Everyone is "scared" in combat situations, some control that fear & are not "frozen" by it. They are able to "see" thru situations, or at least think they can & can act decisively & effectively.

Another aspect is expecting your men to follow your example, (and most will), so a leader has to perform his duty to inspire his men & never let them down. Being aggressive in combat is a desirable trait & inspire your men, and can overcome the enemy.

Some Marines (leaders or not) have the "guts" to act quickly & bravely. Just a "warrior spirit" that's in them, with little regard for their own life & safety. They do their job.

USMC, 62'-66 RVN 65'-66'


first off I am both a combat vet of the 03 invasion into Iraq and a father so here's my 2 cents.

simple answer? they don't stop to think about what they are doing. Instead they know what NEEDS to be done in order for their men and themselves (or at least their men) to survive and they just do it.

Even when we (Marines) don't always get along, when you live and train with a group of men as much as a Marine must in order to perform their jobs effectively a type of family forms. We are all brothers, sons, and fathers of one another.

Doubt that will help much but hopefully it helps at least a little.

Corporal J
USMC 2000-2004

And I Quote...

"In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution."
--Thomas Jefferson

When in Boot Camp, one is trained to NEVER let his comrades down. This is taught with the simple technique of punishing EVERYONE for the mistake(s) of one. To make a mistake and be forced to stand and watch as the rest of the Platoon performs squat thrusts until the Drill Instructor is satisfied is VERY instructive.

When in a firefight, a small lapse in discipline can get Marines killed...

Today's Marines, by the way, are interchangeable with those portrayed in the TV show.

John Holland, Sergeant of Marines, 1966-70

Pamphlet for LCPL Ross's funeral Sgt. Grit
I already notified you of the Loss of another Marine in Afghanistan.
LCpl. Jacob Ross.

Today April 1, 2010 was his funeral in Gillette, Wyoming. About 250 miles North of Cheyenne, Wy.

We were sure there would be at least two Marines present. The escort and the Officer in charge.
We wanted to make sure a couple of us OLD Marines would also be there.
We left Cheyenne about 0400 and drove North. Hit snow about 75 miles south of Gillette but we persevered.
Services were held at 10:00 at the Family Life Church.
Governor Freudenthal and Senator Barasso (he's an associate of the member the Marine Corps League) of Wyoming attended and presented plaques to the family:
Mother, father and his still new bride of only a few months. He was awarded the Purple Heart posthumously at the service. Several people that were in his life spoke of him at the service, and recounted some of the more memorable good times of his short life.
His escort spoke of him and said several other Marines are alive today because of LCpl Ross's actions that day. But did not elaborate. None was needed.
He performed his duty and excelled in doing it

The entire route from church to graveyard had people standing on the sidelines in freezing snow and rain, offering their respects. The flags we saw were at half mast with the stars and stripes and the POW/MIA, a few also had the Marine Corps flag displayed. Snow covered cemetery

George Archuka, state president Of the Patriot Guard Riders and approximately 15 Patriot guard riders of Wyoming provided the alley of Flags at the church and gravesite And acted as a buffer if needed. Fortunately no disruptions occurred. Which Was wise. I doubt we Marines would of turned the other cheek.

As it turned out there were about 15 Marines in Dress Blues in attendance, And several more in civilian clothes, plus members of various veterans organizations. Bagpiper at LCPL Ross's funeral

Please keep L/cpl Ross and his family in your prayers.

On a side note, Cpl Dwain Carey (NLA) and myself stopped for breakfast at Granny's diner in Gillette. We were graciously led to a booth in the back, so we would not stand out.
We were informed some kind anonymous person paid for our coffee and roll.
Lineup of Marines at LCPL Ross's funeral We asked the waitress to thank the person(s) for us.
If you are reading this, or know the person, please extend our thanks once again.

I am attaching a few select photos. I did NOT take any in church as did not want to be intrusive.
Nor did I take any of family members in their time of mourning for same reason.

You may use any or all you deem appropriate.
I did NOT label the pics as I believe the picture will speak for itself.

Semper Fi
Choo Choo
Sgt of Marines (NLA)
RVN 70-71

Sgt Edwin Runner's Korea Certificate Loved your news letter and would love to subscribe to it. I come from a Marine Corps family, my father was a p o w on Saipan during WWII, my oldest brother was a hellcat pilot on the Yorktown, shot down in battle of midway. I lost another brother on Guadalcanal, and I had two sons that served honorably, and I am a Chosin Reservoir survivor. The best thing I ever did was join the Marine Corps. There is a lot of truth to once a Marine all ways a Marine, and the pride instilled in me at Parris Island boot camp I will carry to my grave.

I work a lot with veterans and its sad our boys coming home can't get their needs fulfilled. Because of budget cuts we just got 18 vans shut down to get these boys to hospitals etc. my pet peeve is why we as a country turn our backs on our veterans, someone tell me why after severing two or three tours in Afghanistan our boys have to pay for their own transportation home. this sticks in my craw - if it was up to me they would all have a brand new car waiting for them. You're doing a great service Sgt. Grit, Proud of you. Continue your good work Sincerely Sgt Edwin Runner

And I Quote...

"It is impossible for the man of pious reflection not to perceive in it [the Constitution] a finger of that Almighty hand which has been so frequently and signally extended to our relief in the critical stages of the revolution."
--James Madison

My son Pfc Sandberg served in Iraq in 2008-2009 at COP Adwalla, near Ramadi, and is now a volunteer serving with African Partnership Sation 2010 training friendly African nation forces. Soon they will move on with their float to the Baltic Sea to demonstrate amphibious assault landings.

Myself, I was a "squid" and served aboard the USS Essex in 1956-57 making landings at Subic Bay (Cubi Point); Buckner Bay, Okinawa; Sasebo, Yokosuka, Atsugi, Japan; and Hong Kong. What a marvelous experience for me and my fellow sailors. The tough part was missing Christmas in Melbourne, Australia because the Chinese were shooting at our planes near Formosa (now Taiwan) and made us ready carrier for two weeks that December. Thanks for your newsletter,
G. A. Sandberg AD2, VF112.

Veteran Family Network Veteran Family Network: This is a membership organization for veterans and family members where, from $25-45/year you can join and find coupons and discounts from participating businesses. Check it out:

"The Pacific" continued:

The HBO miniseries "The Pacific" has been long overdue; it is a story that needs to be told, and as such, is a keystone of our MARINE CORPS history and legacy. I felt compelled to reply to Gunny Rousseau's comments about the portrayal of GySgt. "Manila John Basilone", and the characterization of the MARINES in general.

1. The story is what is important, it needs to be told..WE ALL NEED TO BE GRATEFUL that it is being told.
2. Remember, the story is being told to a wide audience, not just to MARINES, a little "poetic license" is to be expected
3. As to MARINES staring at the enemy KIAs after the Alligator Creek engagement, let's remember again, the authors are painting a picture for the entire audience. Having firsthand experience, it's true, you would not have let the men linger, and getting on with after action duties is a key moral maintainer, I do not think this aspect of the screen play was overdone. It was also their first major engagement, who would not take a minute to stand back and say WTF?
4. My girlfriend is second cousin (by BLOOD) to GySgt. John Basilone, and her mother, at 89 years young, is sharp as a K- BAR; she remembers John Basilone (her first cousin) well. She knew him growing up, and when he was on active duty. She is quite satisfied with his portrayal by John Sena. I have been given many family photo's which I treasure.
5. What I did find objectionable was the blas�" attitude when their Corpsmen were killed (being a 20 year veteran Doc), this would not have happened. Additionally, the torture shooting of the lone Japanese soldier was way out of line. Poetic license, maybe. The more realistic scenario would have been to take him prisoner, or just drop him on the spot. MARINES are warriors, not MURDERES.
6. The film is also striving to portray the Horror and Humanity of the conflict, this is a key factor of the both the screenplay and historical fact
7. I don't understand what Gunny Rousseau find so revolting or objectionable about how the MARINES are being portrayed. I find the departure from stereotypes very welcome, although, I'm glad to see some familiar themes maintained.
8. HOLLYWOOD producers are always going to find a way to be "PC" and make money on history, nothing can be done about this.
9. As far as racial slurs and stereotypes, de-humanizing the enemy has been, and always will be a facet of combat operations that is an unpleasant, uncomfortable and regrettable truth... It's fact. A sign that was hung at the Entrance to several PT BOAT operating bases in the Solomon's, referred to the Japanese as "Little Yellow #astards" and bore the signature of Adm. Chester Nimitz. Producers are going to comment on such things...they can't help themselves.
10. Another MARINE commented on haircuts. Few high and tights to be seen in the period photos I've looked at (thousands of them).
Top wrap it up, I think it's important to focus on the story, be over-joyed its being told, and let the fragments of BS...float away. Concentrate on what is right about the story, THE MONUMENTAL SACRIFICES made by our BROTHER MARINES and NAVY CORPSMEN in the name of freedom, and not to dwell on the "stuff" that gets in the way of enlightening America on our collective history that was forged in blood, honor, and sacrifice.


"Doc V"
1st Marine div.


GySgt. F.L. Rousseau hit the mark with his assessment of the despicable portrayal of The Corps in The Pacific. As the son of a former Raider and member of the 5th Division when the Raiders were disbanded, the average, uninformed viewer must think that this was the way it was. That the Japanese were merely spreading their colorful culture and we were the racist aggressors. I could go on but you covered it all Gunny in your fine letter.

Just before I turned 8, I came upon a trunk. Inside were photos, newspaper clippings and letters meticulously kept by my grandmother. I read about places like Guadalcanal, Bougainville, New Georgia, Tarawa and Iwo Jima. For the next 27 years until his passing, I never looked at my father in the same way again. I would go on to try and learn as much about the Marines and the war against Japan as I could. Many things stay with me on an almost daily basis such as how did they survive in such squalid conditions against such abject and craven savagery and brutality. The easy answer is that they were Marines but I'm just a bit partial.

My father and his buddies have cast a very long shadow. A shadow I may never fully walk out of with a standard of honor, courage and loyalty I strive for everyday. As I write this and look at the photos on the walls of my office, they serve as a daily inspiration on how to live my life. Pictures of my dad on top of Suribachi with his buddies or on Guadalcanal. This is the standard by which I try to live by, if possible

Tom Hanks and his ilk come from a generation of spoiled, over- indulged whiny brats. But we're not all bad Hanks has proved himself a buffoon. Marines and Marine families, both past and present, know the truth,

I did not serve. But my family and I thank every Marine who has stood up to answer the call to wear that illustrious uniform and the brave families that are left behind that support them. You have given us the most precious thing we have: FREEDOM. God Bless You All.

Tom Hermanek
Elmhurst, IL


As a student of WWII history in the South Pacific, I am disturbed by the many negative reviews of Tom Hanks' movie and his liberal Hollyweird description of US servicemen as racists. Had Hanks studied the Pacific war in detail he would have found that it was the Japanese who were the racists. The J-ps were brutal, unmerciful, and barbaric in their treatment to anyone who wasn't Japanese & that included men, women, and children. Hanks should try and tell the Filipino and American children & grandchildren of American & Filipino servicemen killed and/or butchered by Japanese soldiers the truth about the atrocities the Japanese committed against not only our military men, but against civilians. And I don't want any of you bleeding hearts to whine about alleged atrocities our troops committed. Study your WWII history first. Then you can whine about our troops if you still feel justified in doing so, but unlike Hanks, you should get your facts straight first. Fair Winds & Following Seas

Bob Harris
USN 1961-67

And I Quote...

"What really scares the dickens out of me is the strategist who's never had to put body bags on a helicopter."
--Gen. James Mattis

In reference to "USMC Viet Nam Vet 68-69" and his time with the outstanding VA. Hold down the laughter. Here is my story.

In November 1967 I was with 2/9 at Camp Carroll . We got the call for more sandbags. Having grown up on a farm and being pretty good with a shovel I volunteered to shovel instead of holding the bag. Due to the twisting and turning I soon began to feel the pain in my back. Not a good sign. I counted the number we filled because I figured I was in for some problems later. Little did I know the extent of the problems from filling 110 bags in an hour. We were in a slight hurry and I got carried away.

Around 0200 hours, I was awakened for my turn at watch. I sat up on my cot and put on my left boot, however, as hard as I tried I could not lift my right leg. Plus my back was killing me. I was carried to sickbay by two buddies, given complete bed rest and some nice Darvon for the pain. Catch 22 kicked in big time. My condition was too bad to go to the main-side hospital on a 6-by but not bad enough to get a chopper. I spent 22 days there. I was able to get over to the Corpsman's tent one night for some poker weeks later. I was about $450 ahead and told them I had to go because my back was hurting more. They wanted to get some of their money back so I was given a quart jar of Darvon to enjoy. Darvon is to be taken, on the average, one an hour. I was into 2 every 30 minutes. I still came out with about $140 and my back was not bothering me as much.

I got my State side ticket a few days after being discharged and I returned to the world and El Toro, CA. I was due for an early out because I was returning to college so I did not raise my hand when we were asked if we had any medical problems we needed to have checked out before we were discharged. School started in two weeks and we were told we would be there for another 6-8 weeks, or longer. Not good. I said nothing.

My back held out for awhile, however, it soon kicked back in with the pain. Around June 1968 I went to the VA in Houston and requested they take a look at my back. They took x-rays and blood test and told me I would hear from them in 4-6 weeks. Right. 11 weeks later I got a letter stating I was not eligible for benefits because my eyes were bad when I entered the Marines. I wore contacts a the time. I called them and explained I had been there for my back and my eyes were never looked at. When I was informed I had to come back to the VA I declined. If they messed up my reason for being there the first time what in the h&ll would they do to me the next time?

Fast forward a few years; here I am at 69 and limited on what I can do around my house because of the constant pain in my lower back. The last time it went out I was in the hospital for a week. Love Morphine. I have two vertebrae that are about half the right size plus other back bone problems. Even muscle relaxing and pain pills will not remove the pain. Got to love the VA and our military medical facilities. Wrong!

After several years of applying and finely going through a Congressman, I finely got my medical records last month. Maybe I can get some information out of them now. To be continued...

John Halpin, Sgt.
2/9 Viet-Nam


Just wanted to say thanks for the space online you have devoted to your beloved Corps. I am not a Marine but have developed an appreciation for the men and now women who serve with such distinction. Having just finished Ken Burns 'The War' documentary and following it up with Cpl. Eugene Sledge's 'With the Old Breed', I am profoundly struck with gratitude toward those who have served our nation, esp. the USMC.

I have enjoyed reading the various Marine Corps Stories posted on the site and congratulate you on a successful business venture.

Thank you Sgt. Grit, for your past and continued service to our nation's best.


Sgt. Grit,
I just wanted to let you know what a great inspiration your newsletter is to me. My dad was a Marine in WWII and served on the U.S.S. New Jersey, was in Nagasaki after the bomb, and fought in the South Pacific. I could go on and on telling you his stories, because I heard them many times, all my life. My dad passed away on November 20, 1997 and I still miss him. We celebrated the Marine Corps birthday every year when I was growing up. I became a police officer in 1983 and the Police Department where I worked and retired from had a lot of former Marines working for it, so we celebrated the Marine Corps birthday with a breakfast every year and many officers knew my dad, so they invited him to the Birthday Breakfast every year. Once he passed away one of the police officers said that they were making me "grandfathered in" because of my dad and that I could always come and celebrate with them. Most of those officers are still working.

Since my dad passed away I have been giving out door prizes and organizing the Birthday Breakfast every year, even after I've retired. This is my problem: I heard one of the former Marines say that he didn't think it was right for me to be at the Birthday Breakfast because I wasn't a Marine. Just to let you know, I NEVER claim to have been in the Marines, that would be a lie and an insult to my father and every Marine. Every year I give out cards that usually have some type of USMC pin attached and that says it is in honor of the United States Marine Corps and in honor and memory of my father, and his name and where he served follows that. Do you think I should stop participating in the Birthday Breakfast? Thank you for your thoughts on the subject.

Proud daughter of a Marine,
Katie Pasteur

And I Quote...

"The hardest thing to explain is the glaringly evident which everybody had decided not to see."
--Ayn Rand

Sgt Grit; Thank you for your service & welcome Home! I enjoy your newsletters a lot and look forward to each one. First let me say I'm not a Marine but have purchased a few items from you and wear them often. I get a lot of Marine wanabe from NOLOAD Marines!

I am a Marine Father In Law and wear your Items in support of my son and others in the service. Those who don't like Me wearing the clothes T.D.B. I did my time when it wasn't cool to wear anything military! I've been called an Animal, Babykiller, and other wonderful names by our so called Loving Americans! I traveled thru your part of Nam In FEB.70, Our C141 medivac flight Stopped there to load more wounded before going on to Japan.

I was not wounded in combat but was medivaced from The HOBO WOODS not far from CUCHI. I'm an Army infantrymen and proud of It. My Son in Law is a Master Sergeant in the Corps. Maybe the term g--k isn't correct but is what we are called any better! Thanks for letting me vent! Have a great day & keep up the great job you do.

Proud MARINE Father In Law (DAD) CLIFF


I've just received a phone call from Sally Chand, widow of SgtMaj Michael Chand, USMC (Ret). Two and half years ago Sally held a memorial for Mike who was killed in Iraq. They have recovered Mike's body and Sally is in the process of having him escorted home. Mike's body was found on 13 Mar 2010 and positively identified on 18 Mar 2010. More information to follow as I get it and please pass on to those that have served with and/or knew Mike. Please add the Chand family in your prayers as they endure the pain of a losing a loved one twice.

Semper Fi,

I was receiving mail from one of my friends and this quote came up. please post it, Just for your info, it came from 'Parents', from the Memphis School District", #18 -

'My daughter was absent yesterday because she was tired, she spent the weekend with U. S. Marines'!...

Semper Fi...Gary

Note: I am assuming she is a Poolie and was with Recruiters in training all weekend.
Sgt Grit

Hearts Filled With Pain

In August of 1951, Richard DeWert's foster mother responded to a letter sent to them by Captain Mackin. In it she wrote:

Dear Captain Mackin,
Receiving your letter was most comforting. Knowing that Richard died so honorably eases, somewhat, the pain that will always remain in our hearts. Although we are not his natural parents, being childless, we loved him more than words can describe.

He was brought up under atrocious conditions by a mother who was only concerned about herself. Richard had to fend for himself from earliest childhood. He could have gone just as bad as he was good, but God in His infinite wisdom gave him a pure heart. He came to us, we thought at the time quite by accident; but now we know different. God sent him to us so that we could shower him with the love and affection that he never had received in early childhood. He, in turn, returned that love and affection on us that we also never received from a child of our own.

We were never able to adopt him legally as his mother would never relinquish him. His and our big aim in life was for him to become twenty-one so that we could adopt him legally. It was not His will that it be so, however we will never forget Richard's memory and will always carry it in our hearts.

Knowing that you are burdened with many and tedious duties, we thank you from the bottoms of our hearts for taking the time to write us such a comforting letter.

Respectfully yours,
Mrs. Albertina Roy

Submitted by:
Fred Frankville

Ceramic Marine Travel Mug
Ceramic Marine Travel Mug

Marine Corps Eagle Black T-Shirt
Marine Corps Eagle Black T-Shirt

God Bless America!
Semper Fi
Sgt Grit