Providing the enemies of America an opportunity to die for their country.

Marine emblem



                    SEMPER FIDELIS -
                      ALWAYS FAITHFUL


Jesus Christ and the American G.I.

One died for your soul;
The other died for your freedom.


Facts & Commentary by & about MARINES

"Always Faithful" is not just a motto we learn in boot camp,
It's our way of life.
Dignitaries quotes for the MARINES 231 Year LEGACY 
Click here

For a very special Letter Home  Click Here


A service of the Box LT Ranch

Below are Bits & Pieces of information and facts, and commentary
as I personally picked them up on the internet and elswhere.
Cpl. Luedke, Ted W; 1857316; 1958-1962;  Aviation Electronics 6621;
MCRD SD Plt 1013; El Toro '60 & '62; Atsugi, Japan & Fatema, Okinawa 1961.
1st and 3rd MAW

If we served together, send me an email
If we didn't, send an email any how!

Member Marine Corps League Detachment #993

USMC - Together We Served


MountSuribachi2.jpg (59995 bytes)

Raising the
2nd flag at Mount Suribachi
while withdrawing
the 1st flag.

Why did they do this?

Raising the Flag at the 911
Terrorists Attacks

TradeCenterFlag.jpg (69543 bytes)

Early in the morning of February 23,1945 the Marines raised a small flag as a sign of having taken control of Iwo Jima, although they had only begun.  It was to small to be seen in the valley or out in the battle group so several hours later a large battle flag was found and they set it in place while removing the first.  Cpl. Lindberg would later remark, "Suribachi was easy to take; it was getting there that was so hard!" Of the 40-man patrol, thirty-six were killed or wounded in later fighting on Iwo Jima, as was Cpl Lindberg.

It's the Military, not the reporter who has given us the freedom of the press.

It's the Military, not the poet, who has given us the freedom of speech.

It's the Military, not the politicians that ensures our right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

It's the Military who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag.

MARINES OATH, as administered to Marine OCS graduates by  OCS Commandant Col. Wesley Fox

"I DO SOLEMNLY SWEAR.  If the term swear bothers you, you may use the word affirm.  Your sincerity and dedication are sought and the meaning is as important as life.  You should expect that life, your Marines' and yours, to possibly one day be at risk by accepting the responsibilities of this oath.

"THAT I WILL SUPPORT AND DEFEND THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES.  Note that your oath is to support and defend our constitution, not some individual, group of people, or any other idea.  You will defend our constitution, that was given to us by our fore fathers and preserved with their blood, that document that gives us our way of life and our freedom.

"AGAINST ALL ENEMIES, FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC.  Your oath focuses on enemies of our constitution, foreign enemies that you may confront on foreign soil, as has been our national good fortune for over a hundred years.  The enemy is easily identified with a manner, purpose, and dress.  Our Corps's history if full of such campaigns and meeting our enemy has never been a problem for Marines.  Note, however, that your oath acknowledges the possibility of a domestic enemy, one who may do us more harm as he works from within.  Drug dealers are an example, you may well be involved in combating this enemy.

"THAT I WILL BEAR TRUE FAITH AND ALLEGIANCE TO THE SAME.  Not only will you fight when fighting is called for, but your every word and deed shall support our constitution and its ideals.   You shall live by our constitution with your every action and thought.  Your Marines will better understand our constitution through you.

"THAT I TAKE THIS OBLIGATION FREELY, WITHOUT ANY MENTAL RESERVATION. It is your desire and your decision to be a leader of Marines, to support and defend our constitution.  You have no doubts about that fact.  There has been no push by someone who wants you to be a Marine more than you do.

"OR PURPOSE OF EVASION.  Accepting your commission is not the lesser of your options; you are not accepting this commission in order to avoid another obligation or responsibility.

"THAT I WILL WELL AND FAITHFULLY DISCHARGE THE DUTIES OF THE OFFICE ON WHICH I AM ABOUT TO ENTER.  Your office will be these young Marines placed in your charge.  Always have their best interest foremost in your mind and heart.  Take care care of them, provide for, teach, and guide them.  Never forget that when you do right by your Marines as the   leader, they will charge right up the enemy's gun barrel for you with a moment's notice and never ask why.

"SO HELP ME GOD.   These words need no explanation, but for me, I equate them with my vows to my wife - until death do we part.   As United State Marines however, death does not always part us immediately.  Despite the difficulty, the pain, and further death, through the snow fields, from the depth of jungles, and across burning sand, Marines bring their dead from the field of battle."


Son of Marine


The "Tennessean" news April 5 2007 photograph of young Christian Golczynski accepting the American flag from Marine Lt. Col. Ric Thompson is one of the most moving and emotion provoking images.

April 4th f
uneral services for Christian's father, Staff Sergeant Marcus Golczynski, with his six year-old son, dozens of Marines, and several hundred others who came to pay tribute to this fallen hero.

Many were touched by this incredible picture. Staff Sergeant Golczynski had previously served one full tour in Iraq . Shortly before his death on March 27 he wrote to his family that he had volunteered to do this a second time due to our deep desire to finish the job we started.  In his letter he said, "We fight and sometimes die so that our families don't have to." Staff Sergeant Golczynski had only two weeks remaining on his second tour.  

Our nation is at a historical crossroads.  Do we call an end to the struggle in Iraq or press on? Staff Sergeant Golczynski eloquently told his son how he felt about not giving up.  Perhaps there is a lesson for all of us in this Marine's life and the choices he made. He was undeniably a man of tremendous courage and conviction.

How can we even consider to CUT AND RUN when men like this stayed and fought for us?  HOW LONG SHOULD WE STAY?  As my Grandfather would say,   ... "until......."

Double-Tap, and Move On

Following is a Marine’s response to a simple question regarding the news blurbs about the Marine who put two rounds ("double tap") in a wounded insurgent's head in Fallujah, Iraq.  Read on only if you want the truth and can handle the truth!  When you finish reading this, reference the photo above.  Ted

“It's a safety issue, pure and simple. After assaulting through a target, we put a security round in everybody's head. Sorry al-Reuters, there's no paddy wagon rolling around Fallujah picking up "prisoners" and offering them a hot cup o' Joe, falafel, and a blanket.

There's no time to dick around on the target. You clear the space, dump the chumps, and move on.  Are Corpsman expected to treat wounded terrorists? Negative.

Hey Libs, worried about the defense budget? Well, it would be waste, fraud, and abuse for a Corpsman to expend one man-minute or a battle dressing on a terrorist.  It's much cheaper to just spend the $.02 on a 5.56mm bullet.

By the way, in our view, terrorists who chop off civilian's heads are not prisoners, they are carcasses. Chopping off a civilian's head is another reason why these idiots are known as "unlawful combatants." It seems that most of the world's journalists have forgotten that fact.

Let me be very clear about this issue. I have looked around the web, and many people get this concept, but there are some stragglers. Here is your typical Marine SitRep (situation report): You just took fire from unlawful combatants (no uniform - breaking every Geneva Convention rule there is) shooting from a religious building attempting to use the sanctuary status of their position as protection. But you're in Fallujah now, and the Marine Corps has decided that they're not playing that game this time. That was Najaf.

So you set the mosque on fire and you hose down the terrorists with small arms, launch some AT-4s (rockets), some 40MM grenades into the building and things quiet down. So you run over there, and find some tangos (bad guys) wounded and pretending to be dead.

You are aware that suicide martyrdom is like really popular with these idiots, and they think taking some Marines with them would be really cool. So you can either risk your life and your fire team's lives by having them cover you while you bend down and search a guy that you think is pretending to be dead for some reason.

Most of the time these are the guys with the grenade or a vest made of explosives. Also, you don't know who or what is in the next room. You're already speaking English to the rest of your fire team or squad which lets the terrorists know you are there, and you are his enemy. You are speaking loud because your hearing is poor from shooting people for several days. So you know that there are many other rooms to enter, and that if anyone is still alive in those rooms, they know that Americans are in the mosque.

Meanwhile (3 seconds later), you still have this terrorist (who was just shooting at you from a mosque) playing possum. What do you do? You double tap his head, and you go to the next room, that's what! 

What about the Geneva Convention and all that 'Law of Land Warfare' stuff? What about it? Without even addressing the issues at hand, your first thought should be: "I'd rather be judged by 12 than carried by 6."  Bear in mind that this tactic of double-tapping a fallen terrorist is a perpetual mindset that is reinforced by experience on a minute by minute basis.

Secondly, you are fighting an unlawful combatant in a Sanctuary, which is a double No-No on his part.

Third, tactically you are in no position to take "prisoners" because there are more rooms to search and clear, and the behavior of said terrorist indicates that he is up to no good. No good in Fallujah is a very large place and the low end of no good and the high end of no good are fundamentally the same...Marines end up getting hurt or being killed.

So, there is no compelling reason for you to do anything but double tap this idiot and get on with the mission. If you are a veteran, then everything I have just written is self-evident.  If you are not a veteran, at least try to put yourself in the situation. Remember, in Fallujah there is no yesterday, there is no tomorrow, there is only now, Right NOW.

Have you ever lived in NOW for a week? It is really, really not easy. If you have never lived in NOW for longer than it takes to finish the big roller coaster at Six Flags, then shut your pie hole about putting Marines in jail for "War Crimes".”

Semper Fi

By Thomas Anderson



PERSPECTIVE  Buzz Wee-umms

In the book "SPARE PARTS" (sub: "From Campus to Combat in 38 Days") (Gotham Books - 2004) by Marine Buzz Williams (alias Wee Umms and Will),  he tells of his first encounter with bone chilling terror during operation Desert Storm.  A crew member of an  LAV (Light Armored Vehicle) he tells of the first home he entered in Kuwait City.  Read further only if you are ready for the real truth: and I quote,

"Hay Will. take a look at this.
No. Rape room.
It didn't sink in right away ... a mattress on the floor ... bloody undergarments strewn about ... lengths of rope for binding hands and feet ... kerchief gags for muffling screams.  It was a nightmare.
Jesus Christ!
Yeah, Cpl Shane replied. Savage bastards.
As I walked back toward the living room, a toilet caught my attention.  What I wanted was to take a leak, but even the bathroom wasn't what it seemed.  Electrical wires from the chandelier ran along the ceiling, with bare ends dangling into the bathtub.   Next to the tub was a man made device fashioned with batteries and wires.  And more rope.  A torture chamber for electrocution!  The pain and suffering the prisoners had endured was sickening.

Cpl Shane, Let.'s get back to the LAV.  I've seen enough.
But Cpl Shane was entranced.  He detoured into a small room off the kitchen.   The washer and dryer showed it had once been a laundry room.  The blood splash on the wall, though, showed that it had been used for executions.  The walls and floor were sticky with innards - blood and guts and brains.  The gristly scene drove me out into the alley gagging on the stench of death, spitting to rid my mouth of the taste, and blowing to lose the smell.
Even the unflappable Cpl Shane was shaken. Un-fucking-believable!
This was the first and last time I ventured into the houses.  The scenes played as vivid nightmares for many nights after.   Jabul's  (local citizen) description hadn't done the suffering of those people justice.  Nor had the description that the CO had given us on graduation day.  The people of Kuwait had endured much more than I could ever imagine.  Seven months of torture, rape, and murder.  Did anyone back in the States really understand?

No one back home feared tanks rolling down Main Street, blasting holes into the local church, bank and school.  Husbands and fathers and brothers didn't have to worry about being dragged away from the dinner table to be taken prisoner or shot.  Children had no fear of being discarded, locked outside, felt to pound on windows and claw doors while their mothers and sisters screamed inside.   Women did not have to fear the hell of being tied, beaten and raped to death.   Back home parents worked, children played, and life went on.

Thank God they didn't understand."

Note from Ted ... Thanks to LCpl Wee Umms (Williams) for having not only the guts but the where with all to tell his story of,  "A Marine Reservist's Journey from Campus to Combat in 38 Days."  Yes, 'Wee Umms', it is the most influential institution in my life and I rely totally on the values learned, every day!

Commentary from a MARINE, Sgt. "G",   that has three rotations in IRAQ.
Taken from Marine Mom's Website blog, 2June 2006


"I served in Iraq in the Marine Corps and when I hear these stories on the news blasting our Marines calling them murderers/slaughterers/baby killers and what ever nastily (nasty) things they run across the screen as headlines (especially before they know what the hell they are talking about), its just is a disgrace. Why on earth are we allowing this to happen? After three rotations in Iraq, troops are going to have psychological issues that are undeniable and if anyone is trying to turn a blinds eye to that then they can go ahead and obtain their doctoral degree in Psychology and come up with some new ideas because it is quite black and white, and no shit, a person can only take so much before your brain starts shitting out on you, changing your personality and actions.

"Put a person in continuous stress and things change. Hopefully you don't need the degree now to believe this...some still are so fricking hard headed they deny this is true so I give them that offer so they can school themselves before they open their yapper and say PTSD is
bullshit. Stress can do some crazy crap, including kill us.

"Also, were any of these hollywood story tellers there to fully appreciate the situation? I doubt it. I say this because I could round you up quite a few Marines that have never had their stories told about going into cities where Iraqi KIDS were the combatants, even Little girls in dresses holding hand grenades with the PIN REMOVED (yea, what do you think about that one....ooohh how cute and innocent). That will screw with a Marine's head for life if he has to take care of that situation. What shall we do about that....do you think a Marine...and Father...wants to shoot that little kid...I think not. If you do think so then you are talking about one really crazy Marine that needs some SERIOUS counseling and needs to be out of that combat area any ways
right! I'd say.

"How about the DAILY encounter over and over again that NEVER get reported where Marines do not return fire because of fear of collateral damage on civilians even though they have been shot at and possibly taken casualties themselves. Daily. That was never on TV while I was out there; I would wait to see if that made the news...never seemed to.

"How about how many Marines would get personally upset when they saw kids getting hurt or injured or being abused by their elders overseas. That is seldom spoken about. We are told it is "part of their custom", yet
Marines wanted to protect them. So...I find it very difficult to fathom Marines wanting to randomly shoot families with kids unless they had been in the line of an unfortunate objective or setup. If you are not trying to kill us, we don't bother you. Not all is perfect....but.....if war was perfect....would it then be a war?

"I feel this is political. We had such intense training when we went to Iraq. We had Iraqi's working on base with us and living with us daily.  We even got along great with some like our interpreters. We became partners.

"If our troops are indeed getting "stressed out" and taking more lives than necessary than we need to do much more PTSD follow up...something the VA and Corps is lacking in BADLY.

"This finger pointing shit has got to stop. This finding someone accountable is piss poor. This is a way to get the military to get us to go against ourselves. We are ignorant if we do not stand up and stand behind our Marines. The Iraqi government complains that we drag out people that look suspicious but....look around. The insurgents live with the regular Iraqi people in their homes so therefore the enemy can be anyone in all reality.

"Good, maybe hand out something that everybody who is not an insurgent can wear to mean you are okay.


"Keep not supporting our troop and sending them to a shitty war that has NO END where the enemy is everywhere NO ONE WINS and you are asking for something terrible to happen. PTSD will rise so fast this will just be the tip and I blame it on the troops not being taken care of!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Sure shit rolls down hill, but this one never started at the top and it needs to start doing so.

"Write your commandant, VA, Senators....anyone that can help support our
troops. We cannot let this happen to them. I do not believe this is what
we are being told it is....just a willy nilly killing spree."

Thanks, Sgt G SEMPER FI

NOTE from Ted
During 2006 Memorial Day celebrations at Springfield National Veterans Cemetery our Color Guard talked about these accusations.  One Marine said, in Viet Nam a Sergeant was about to shoot a couple of people the first Marine thought were civilians, and our guy said he would testify against the Sgt. if he shot them.  After a long pause another Marine, same war, said his Plt Sgt told him to shoot a man on a bicycle as he was riding by.  Our Marine told the Sgt that he would fire a shot across the bow, and did.  The man veered off the road into a ditch and when our troops got there they found a signaling devise used to call in mortars, in his hand.  I believe that all "4" of these Marines were right ... that's why war is hell!

Shut up the talking heads, open the cages, take off the muzzles and let the Marines do the shitty combat.  We train hard at it and have proven our salt.   Then bring in the Army to hold the secured areas.  If not, get all our troops the hell out of there and suffer the long term consequences of such a devastating decision.

(Looking back I can see just how angry I was when I put this together and as time has passed I think I could have used cleaner language ... but then I pause and say NO, this is how strong I felt at the time).

Corporal Chris Huffaker

From the Messenger Family in Bismarck, Arkansas:  In the Wednesday 2004 August 4th edition of "The Range" news in San Simon, Arizona, is a portion of a letter that our nephew, Chris Huffaker, sent to his
girlfriend, and her response to it. Chris is in the Marines, and was part of the original invasion/liberation.


"I am glad we are over here. The news, as always, distorts everything to make it look like it is not.  This is an opportunity to let these people be free.   They can't do it alone, and it is going to take us helping them hand in hand to get the job done.

Freedom, as I am beginning to realize, is a very costly thing and idea. But once you have it, it makes peoples' lives so wonderfully different.

When you have a glimpse of the big picture, you see that it's not just the freedom of the Iraqi people that we are trying to save, but our own as well. If we don't stop these people here on foreign soil, then we will be fighting them on our home soil; and I will gladly fight for as long it takes to keep that from happening.

No matter how hard it seems, I want you and so many other Americans to have a chance to live the American dream. When I first came over here, I wondered if it really was America's, or more importantly, my fight, to be here; and now that I am starting to see what is happening over here, my answer is "yes" a thousand times over. I hope we utterly devastate and destroy every last "one" before they can wreak havoc on my home, country, family, and friends. I will gladly help eliminate this deadly threat...."

Elsa's commentary;

These are the words written by a United States Marine in a letter home.  Cpl Chris Huffaker is, for the second time in the last year and a half, serving his country in Iraq. I want all Americans to see how this war is perceived through the eyes of the men and women fighting over there.  It's not about oil or politics or trying to take over the world.  It's about freedom.

America has not become free without war; and in today's age, its a different kind of war--a war against terror. Think before you criticize our presence in Iraq or our president.  Look at it through a patriot's eyes, those of a true American. Our service men and women aren't only fighting for Iraqi lives.  When you go to bash our nation's leaders for not paying heed to the homeland, remember this--Sept. 11, 2001, was before our war on terror.  Our troops are over in Iraq and Afghanistan fighting for our lives as well (as the Iraqis').  Thank them when you have a chance, and say a prayer for their lives and their cause."

Elsa Mae Bohlender, age 16, San Simon, Arizona

>From the editor: "It is my judgment that if one were to want to know where either of these young people stand, they would not have a problem telling where and why in no uncertain terms. Good for them."


March 23, 2003

This is a poem being sent from a Marine to his Dad.  For those who take the time to read it, you'll see a letter from him to his Dad at the bottom.


We all came together,
Both young and old
To fight for our freedom,
To stand and be bold.

In the midst of all  evil,
We stand our ground,
And we protect our country
From all terror around.

Peace and not war,
Is what some people say.
But I'll give my life,
So you can  live the American way.

I give you the right
To talk of your peace.
To stand in your groups,
and protest in  our streets.

But still I fight on,
I don't bitch, I don't whine.
I'm just one of the people
Who  is doing your time.

I'm harder than  nails,
Stronger than any machine.
I'm the immortal soldier,
I'm a U.S. MARINE!

So stand in my shoes,
And leave from your home.
Fight for the people who hate you,
With the protests they've  shown.

Fight for the stranger,
Fight for the young.
So they all  may have,
The greatest freedom you've won.

Fight for the sick,
Fight for the poor
Fight for the  cripple,
Who lives next door.

But when your time comes,
Do what I've done.
For if you stand up for freedom,
You'll stand when the fight's done.

By: Corporal Aaron M. Gilbert, US Marine Corps
March 23, 2003

(Attached to poem)
Hey Dad,

Do me a favor and label this "The Marine" and send it to everybody on your email list. Even leave this letter in it. I want this rolling all over the US; I want every home reading it; every eye seeing it; and every heart to feel it. So can you please send this for me? I would but my email time isn't that long and I don't have much time anyway. You know what Dad?  I wondered what it would be like to truly understand what JFK said in his inaugural speech.

"When the time comes to lay down my life for my country, I do not cower from this responsibility. I welcome it."

Well, now I know. And I do. Dad, I welcome the opportunity to do what I do. Even though I have left behind a beautiful wife, and I will miss the birth of our first-born child, I would do it 70 times over to fight for the place that God has made for my home.    I love you all and I miss you very much. I wish I could be there when Sandi has our baby, but tell her that I love her, and Lord willing, I will be coming home soon.  Give Mom a great big hug from me and give one to yourself too.



Frank Pecos - Father

"He doesn't fight for his country, he doesn't fight for the Sec. Def., he doesn't even fight for his mom and dad. He fights for the guys on either side of him and for his team."

A very difficult concept for civvies, and some in the military, to understand. Gunny G



Hard to put words to this ... survivor of WWII Pear    Harbor and todays MARINE who lost a hand, leg   and eye in Iraq.


Semper Fi   SSgt Graunke, Jr.

& Huston James










Ed Evans, MGySgt

Forward by Stan Bishop, Col USAF (ret)
Some powerful thoughts by a Marine Master Sergeant to reflect and ponder over. This Marine really has a handle on our "AMERICA," and the situation it now finds itself in.

I sat in a movie theater watching "Schindler's List," asked myself, "Why didn't the Jews fight back?" Now I know why.

I sat in a movie theater, watching "Pearl Harbor" and asked myself, "Why weren't we prepared?"

Now I know why.

Civilized people cannot fathom, much less predict, the actions of evil people.

On September 11, dozens of capable airplane passengers allowed themselves to be overpowered by a handful of poorly armed terrorists because they did not comprehend the depth of hatred that motivated their captors.

On September 11, thousands of innocent people were murdered because too many Americans naively reject the reality that some nations are dedicated to the dominance of others. Many political pundits, pacifists and media personnel want us to forget the carnage. They say we must focus on the bravery of the rescuers and ignore the cowardice of the killers. They implore us to understand the motivation of the perpetrators. Major television stations have announced they will assist the healing process by not replaying devastating footage of the planes crashing into the Twin Towers.

I will not be manipulated.

I will not pretend to understand.

I will not forget.

I will not forget the liberal media who abused freedom of the press to kick our country when it was vulnerable and hurting.

I will not forget that CBS anchor Dan Rather preceded President Bush's address to the nation with the snide remark, "No matter how you feel about him, he is still our president."

I will not forget that ABC TV anchor Peter Jennings questioned President Bush's motives for not returning immediately to Washington, DC and commented, "We're all pretty skeptical and cynical about Washington."

And I will not forget that ABC's Mark Halperin warned if reporters weren't informed of every little detail of this war, they aren't "likely -- nor should they be expected -- to show deference."

I will not isolate myself from my fellow Americans by pretending an attack on the USS Cole in Yemen was not an attack on the United States of America.

I will not forget the Clinton administration equipped Islamic terrorists and their supporters with the world's most sophisticated telecommunications equipment and encryption technology, thereby compromising America's ability to trace terrorist radio, cell phone, land lines, faxes and modem communications.

I will not be appeased with pointless, quick retaliatory strikes like those perfected by the previous administration.

I will not be comforted by "feel-good, do nothing" regulations like the silly, "Have your bags been under your control?" question at the airport.

I will not be influenced by so called,"antiwar demonstrators" who exploit the right of expression to chant anti-American obscenities.

I will not forget the moral victory handed the North Vietnamese by American war protesters who reviled and spat upon the returning soldiers, airmen, sailors and marines.

I will not be softened by the wishful thinking of pacifists who chose reassurance over reality.

I will embrace the wise words of Prime Minister Tony Blair who told the Labor Party conference, "They have no moral inhibition on the slaughter of the innocent. If they could have murdered not 7,000 but 70,000, does anyone doubt they would have done so and rejoiced in it?

There is no compromise possible with such people, no meeting of minds, no point of understanding with such terror. Just a choice: defeat it or be defeated by it. And defeat it we must!"

I will force myself to: -hear the weeping;

-feel the helplessness; -imagine the terror;

-sense the panic ;-smell the burning flesh

- experience the loss; - remember the hatred.

I sat in a movie theater, watching "Private Ryan" and asked myself, "Where did they find the courage?" Now I know.

We have no choice. Living without liberty is not living. -- Ed Evans, MGySgt., USMC (Ret.)


MY HEART ON THE LINE, by Frank Schaeffer - Father

Before my son became a Marine, I never thought much about who was defending me. Now when I read of the war on terrorism or the conflict in Iraq, it cuts to my heart. When I see a picture of a member of our military who has been killed, I read his or her name very carefully. Sometimes I cry.

In 1999, when the barrel-chested Marine recruiter showed up in dress blues and bedazzled my son John (Schaeffer), I did not stand in the way. John was headstrong, and he seemed to understand these stern, clean men with straight backs and flawless uniforms. I did not. I live on the Volvo driving, higher education-worshiping North Shore of Boston. I write novels for a living. I have never served in the military.

It had been hard enough sending my two older children off to Georgetown and New York University. John’s enlisting was unexpected, so deeply unsettling, I did not relish the prospect of answering the question “So where is John going to college?” from the parents who were itching to tell me all about how their son or daughter was going to Harvard. At the private high school John attended, no other students were going into the military.

“But aren't’t the Marines terribly Southern?” asked one perplexed mother while standing next to me at the brunch following graduation. “What a waste, he was such a good student,” said another parent. One parent (a professor at a nearby and rather famous university) spoke up at a school meeting and suggested that the school should “carefully evaluate what went wrong.”

When John graduated from three months of boot camp at Parris Island, 3,000 parents and friends were on the parade deck stands. We parents and our Marines not only were of many races, but also were representative of many economic classes. Many were poor. Some arrived crammed in the backs of pickups, others by bus. John told me that a lot of parents could not afford the trip.

We in the audience were white and Native American. We were Hispanic, Arab, and African American and Asian. We were former Marines wearing the scars of battle, or at least baseball caps emblazoned with battles’ names. We were Southern whites from Nashville and skinheads from New Jersey, black kids from Cleveland wearing ghetto rags and white ex-cons with ham-hock forearms defaced by jailhouse tattoos. We would not have been mistaken for the educated and well-heeled parents gathered on the lawns of John’s private school a half-year before.

After graduation one new Marine told John, “Before I was a Marine, if I had ever seen you on my block I would’ve probably killed you just because you were standing there.” This was a serious statement from one of John’s good friends, an African American ex-gang member from Detroit, who, as John said, “would die for me now, just like I’d die for him.”

My son has connected me to my country in a way that I was too selfish and insular to experience before. I feel closer to the waitress at our local diner than to some of my oldest friends. She has two sons in the Corps. They are facing the same dangers as my boy. When the guy who fixes my car asks me how John is doing, I know he means it. His younger brother is in the Navy.

Why were I and the other parents at my son’s private school so surprised by his choice? During World Ward II, the sons and daughters of the most powerful and educated families did their bit. If the immorality of the Vietnam War was the only reason those lucky enough to go to college dodged the draft, why did we not encourage our children to volunteer for military service once that war was done?

Have we wealthy and educated Americans all become pacifists? Is the world a safe place? Or have we just gotten used to having somebody else defend us? What is the future of our democracy when the sons and daughters of the janitors at our elite universities are far more likely to be put in harm’s way than are any of the students whose dorms their parents clean?

I feel shameful because it took my son’s joining the Marine Corps to make me take notice of who is defending me. I feel hope because perhaps my son is part of a future “greatest generation.” As the storm clouds of war gather, at least I know that I can look the men and women in uniform in the eye. My son is one of them. He is the best I have to offer. He is my heart.

Note:  This appeared in the Washington Post 26 Nov. 2002 under the title, “Now I know a Marine”.  Ted



ON THE SENATE FLOOR Date: Mon, 26 Jan 2004 1113 hours

Some people still don't understand why military personnel do what they do for a living. This exchange between Senators John Glenn and Senator Howard Metzenbaum is worth reading. Not only is it a pretty impressive impromptu speech, but it's also a good example of one man's explanation of why men and women in the armed services do what they do for a living. This IS a typical, though sad, example of what some who have never served think of the military.

Senator Metzenbaum to Senator Glenn: "How can you run for Senate when you've never held a real job?"

Senator Glenn: "I served 23 years in the United States Marine Corps. I served through two wars. I flew 149 missions. My plane was hit by anti-aircraft fire on 12 different occasions. I was in the space program. It wasn't my checkbook, Howard; it was my life on the line.  It was not a nine-to-five job, where I took time off to take the daily cash receipts to the bank.

I ask you to go with me ... as I went the other day... to a veteran's hospital and look those men - with their mangled bodies - in the eye, and tell THEM they didn't hold a job!

You go with me to the Space Program at NASA and go, as I have gone, to the widows and orphans of Ed White, Gus Grissom and Roger Chaffee... and you look those kids in the eye and tell them that their DADS didn't hold a job.

You go with me on Memorial Day and you stand in Arlington National Cemetery, where I have more friends buried than I'd like to remember, and you watch those waving flags. You stand there, and you think about this nation, and you tell ME that those people didn't have a job?

I'll tell you, Howard Metzenbaum; you should be on your knees every day of your life thanking God that there were some men SOME MEN – who held REAL jobs.  And they required a dedication to a purpose and a love of country and a dedication to duty - that was more important than life itself. And their self-sacrifice is what made this country possible.

I HAVE held a job, Howard! What about you?"

My added comment ... For those who don't remember - During W.W.II, Howard Metzenbaum was an attorney representing the Communist Party in the USA. Now he is a Senator!    If you can read this, thank a teacher.... If you are reading it in English thank a Veteran.   Ted

"A Tale of Six Boys"      James Brady

Each year I am hired to go to Washington, DC, with the eighth grade class from Clinton, WI. where I grew up, to videotape their trip. I greatly enjoy visiting our nation's capitol, and each year I take some special memories back with me. This fall's trip was especially memorable.

On the last night of our trip, we stopped at the Iwo Jima memorial. This memorial is the largest bronze statue in the world and depicts one of the most famous photographs in history -- that of the six brave soldiers raising the American Flag at the top of a rocky hill on the island of Iwo Jima, Japan, during WW II.

Over one hundred students and chaperones piled off the buses and headed towards the memorial. I noticed a solitary figure at the base of the statue, and as I got closer he asked, "Where are you guys from?"

I told him that we were from Wisconsin. "Hey, I'm a cheese head, too! Come gather around, Cheese heads, and I will tell you a story."

(James Bradley just happened to be in Washington, DC, to speak at the memorial the following day. He was there that night to say good night to his dad, who has since passed away. He was just about to leave when he saw the buses pull up. I videotaped him as he spoke to us, and received his permission to share what he said from my videotape. It is one thing to tour the incredible monuments filled with history in Washington, D.C., but it is quite another to get the kind of insight we received that night.)

When all had gathered around, he reverently began to speak. (Here are his words that night.)

"My name is James Bradley and I'm from Antigo, Wisconsin. My dad is on that statue, and I just wrote a book called "Flags of Our Fathers" which is #5 on the New York Times Best Seller list right now. It is the story of the six boys you see behind me.

"Six boys raised the flag. The first guy putting the pole in the ground is Harlon Block. Harlon was an all-state football player. He enlisted in the Marine Corps with all the senior members of his football team. They were off to play another type of game. A game called "War." But it didn't turn out to be a game.

Harlon, at the age of 21, died with his intestines in his hands. I don't say that to gross you out, I say that because there are generals who stand in front of this statue and talk about the glory of war. You guys need to know that most of the boys in Iwo Jima were 17, 18, and 19 years old.

(He pointed to the statue) "You see this next guy? That's Rene Gagnon from New Hampshire. If you took Rene's helmet off at the moment this photo was taken and looked in the webbing of that helmet, you would find a photograph... a photograph of his girlfriend. Rene put that in there for protection because he was scared. He was 18 years old. Boys won the battle of Iwo Jima. Boys. Not old men.

"The next guy here, the third guy in this tableau, was Sergeant Mike Strank. Mike is my hero. He was the hero of all these guys. They called him the "old man" because he was so old. He was already 24. When Mike would motivate his boys in training camp, he didn't say, 'Let's go kill some Japanese' or 'Let's die for our country.' He knew he was talking to little boys. Instead he would say, 'You do what I say, and I'll get you home to your mothers.'

"The last guy on this side of the statue is Ira Hayes, a Pima Indian from Arizona. Ira Hayes walked off Iwo Jima. He went into the White House with my dad. President Truman told him, 'You're a hero.' He told reporters, 'How can I feel like a hero when 250 of my buddies hit the island with me and only 27 of us walked off alive?' So you take your class at school, 250 of you spending a year together having fun, doing everything together. Then all 250 of you hit the beach, but only 27 of your classmates walk off alive. That was Ira Hayes. He had images of horror in his mind. Ira Hayes died dead drunk, face down at the age of 32 .. ten years after this picture was taken.

"The next guy, going around the statue, is Franklin Sousley from Hilltop, Kentucky. A fun-lovin' hillbilly boy. His best friend, who is now 70, told me, 'Yeah, you know, we took two cows up on the porch of the Hilltop General Store. Then we strung wire across the stairs so the cows couldn't get down. Then we fed them Epsom salts. Those cows crapped all night. Yes, he was a fun-lovin' hillbilly boy. Franklin died on Iwo Jima at the age of 19. When the telegram came to tell his mother that he was dead, it went to the Hilltop General Store. A barefoot boy ran that telegram up to his mother's farm. The neighbors could hear her scream all night and into the morning. The neighbors lived a quarter of a mile away.

"The next guy, as we continue to go around the statue, is my dad, John Bradley from Antigo, Wisconsin, where I was raised. My dad lived until 1994, but he would never give interviews. When Walter Cronkite's producers, or the New York Times would call, we were trained as little kids to say, 'No, I'm sorry, sir, my dad's not here. He is in Canada fishing. No, there is no phone there, sir. No, we don't know when he is coming back.' My dad never fished or even went to Canada. Usually, he was sitting there right at the table eating his Campbell's soup. But we had to tell the press that he was out fishing. He didn't want to talk to the press.

"You see, my dad didn't see himself as a hero. Everyone thinks these guys are heroes, 'cause they are in a photo and on a monument. My dad knew better. He was a medic. John Bradley from Wisconsin was a caregiver. In Iwo Jima he probably held over 200 boys as they died. And when boys died in Iwo Jima, they writhed and screamed in pain.

"When I was a little boy, my third grade teacher told me that my dad was a hero. When I went home and told my dad that, he looked at me and said, 'I want you always to remember that the heroes of Iwo Jima are the guys who did not come back. Did NOT come back.'

"So that's the story about six nice young boys. Three died on Iwo Jima, and three came back as national heroes. Overall, 7,000 boys died on Iwo Jima in the worst battle in the history of the Marine Corps. My voice is giving out, so I will end here. Thank you for your time."

Suddenly, the monument wasn't just a big old piece of metal with a flag sticking out of the top. It came to life before our eyes with the heartfelt words of a son who did indeed have a father who was a hero. Maybe not a hero for the reasons most people would believe, but a hero nonetheless.

We need to remember that God created this vast and glorious world for us to live in, freely, but also at great sacrifice. Let us never forget from the Revolutionary War to the current War on Terrorism and all the wars in-between that sacrifice was made for our freedom. Remember to pray praises for this great country of ours and also pray for those still in murderous unrest around the world STOP and thank God for being alive and being free at someone else's sacrifice.


Kathleen Parker

Jewish World Review Sept 3, 2004

 Note to Dr. Howard Dean: About that Bubba vote? Two words. Zell Miller.

Wonder no more what gets the good ol' boys' juices flowing, and don't pay no never mind to them talking heads on this particular question. The answer is simply this: real men taking charge, talking straight, telling truth, and leaving the girlie men to fuss about the nuances of terrorist sensitivity.

Miller's fiery, brimstone-studded speech on the penultimate night of the Republican convention was a quintessential testosterone moment that got professional harrumphers flustered and swing voters inspired. While pundits wondered whether Zell was over the top, too hot or too tough, Heartland Americans (and not a few journalists who shall remain unnamed in the interest of job security) were high-fiving and arm-pumping yessssssssss.

Out beyond the Beltway and other bluster zones, Americans have been waiting for someone to articulate the unvarnished truth. To them, the crossover senator from Georgia was a burning bush. Sure, he spoke Republican and was hyperbolic in condemning John Kerry. Hawkish and hawk-faced, his blunt speech wasn't just red meat; it was steak tartare.

But his Marine (emphasis added by Ted) anger and paternal sincerity rang true, while the message he delivered - in the voice of father, grandfather and great-grandfather - spoke to deeper truths that many Americans feel even if they haven't been able to articulate them precisely. (Note from Ted; Zell is a NRA Director and winner of the ILA's "HARLEN B. CARTER - LEGISLATIVE ACHIEVEMENT AWARD.")   The world changed on Sept. 11, 2001, and the old default modes no longer work. The old political templates and loyalties do not apply.

That understanding prompted Miller to abandon his Democratic Party to endorse President George W. Bush for re-election. Saying he believes Bush is the best man for this historic and dangerous moment, Miller spoke to and for other like-minded parents, as well as for other ticked-off vets.

"And like you, I ask which leader is it today that has the vision, the willpower and, yes, the backbone to best protect my family? . There is but one man to whom I am willing to entrust their future, and that man's name is George W. Bush."

It's a certainty that speeches like Miller's don't play well in certain sophisticated circles. He's got that funny accent, after all. And, in the vernacular of his native South, t'weren't nothin' nuanced about Miller's speech. Likewise, however, there's nothing nuanced about terrorists who hijack airplanes and plow them into buildings; who blow up buses filled with children; who sever the heads of kidnap victims for prime-time enemy recruiting films.

What such times call for are the qualities and strategies Miller colorfully described: "No matter what spider hole they may hide in or what rock they crawl under, George Bush wants to grab terrorists by the throat and not let them go to get a better grip."

That sounds about right. One can argue with others - or oneself if you're Kerry - about how the Democrats would have handled Sept. 11, whether they would have taken the war to Iraq, or how they might negotiate current vulnerabilities. But I suspect Miller's passionate recitation of Kerry's Senate voting record against most military spending, as well as his own voluntary exile from a party he claims puts partisanship above national security, produced a new wave of closet Republicans.

That is, voters who may register Democrat and talk liberal, but who know in their hearts that life is fragile in unfamiliar ways and who prefer the devil they know. Hoping that profoundly bad guys will play nice if we ratchet up our sensitivity is a lethal fantasy, the consequences of which are now being demonstrated for France and Russia.

Following Wednesday night's performance, commentators wondered portentously whether Miller's speech might have (lights flicker as thunder clashes nearby) Unintended Consequences. Most likely it had the exact consequences Miller and Republican organizers had hoped for. Witness Ohioans in the wings.

As Chris Matthews of "Hardball" challenged Miller about some of his claims, provoking Miller to say he wished men could still challenge each other to duel, pollster Frank Luntz was interviewing a group of Ohio swing voters, who described Miller's speech as: fantastic, very upbeat, energetic, surprising, focused on the family, powerful but one-sided, intellectual, dynamic and on-target. Only one woman said he was "totally overboard."

In other words, Miller played well in places where spin is a cycle on the washer. If there were any Bubbas undecided before Miller, there aren't anymore. You can bet your duck blind on that.

Note by Ted:  Zell Miller is the author of the book,  "EVERY THING YOU NEED TO KNOW, I LEARNED IN THE MARINES", Bantam ISBN: 055337981X, 1997.


US Marine Corps General Reinwald    was interviewed on the radio the other day and you have to read his reply to the lady who interviewed him concerning guns and children.  Regardless of how you feel about gun laws you gotta love this!!!! This is one of the best comeback lines of all time.

 It is a portion of National Public Radio (NPR) interview between a female broadcaster and US Marine Corps General Reinwald who was about to sponsor a Boy Scout Troop visiting his military installation.  Ted

 FEMALE INTERVIEWER: So, General Reinwald, what things are you going to teach these young boys when they visit your base?

 GENERAL REINWALD: We're going to teach them climbing, canoeing, archery, and shooting.

 FEMALE INTERVIEWER: Shooting! That's a bit irresponsible,  isn't it?

 GENERAL REINWALD: I don't see why, they'll be properly supervised on the rifle range.

 FEMALE INTERVIEWER: Don't you admit that this is a terribly dangerous activity to be teaching children?

 GENERAL REINWALD: I don't see how. We will be teaching them proper rifle discipline before they even touch a firearm.

 FEMALE INTERVIEWER: But you're equipping them to become violent killers.

 GENERAL REINWALD: Well, you're equipped to be a prostitute, but you're not one, are you?  The radio went silent and the interview ended. You gotta love the Marines.                   My kind of General - Ted



THE LAST REVIEW ...  a poem

The Marine stood and faced God,
Which must always come to pass.
He hoped his shoes were shining,
Just as brightly as his brass.

"Step forward now, you Marine,
How shall I deal with you?
Have you always turned the other cheek?
To My Church have you been true?"

The Marine squared his shoulders and said,
"No, Lord, I guess I ain't.
Because those of us who carry guns,
Can't always be a saint.

I've had to work most Sundays,
And at times my talk was tough.
And sometimes I've been violent,
Because the world is awfully rough.

But, I never took a penny,
That wasn't mine to keep...
Though I worked a lot of overtime,
When the bills got just too steep.

And I never passed a cry for help,
Though at times I shook with fear.
And sometimes, God, forgive me,
I've wept unmanly tears.

I know I don't deserve a place,
Among the people here.
They never wanted me around,
Except to calm their fears.

If you've a place for me here, Lord,
It needn't be so grand.
I never expected or had too much,
But if you don't, I'll understand."

There was a silence all around the throne,
Where the saints had often trod.
As the Marine waited quietly,
For the judgment of his God.

"Step forward now, you Marine,
You've borne your burdens well.
Walk peacefully on Heaven's streets,
You've done your time in Hell."

~Author Unknown~


Commandant & Navy Cross winner Chontosh

"By his outstanding display of decisive leadership, unlimited courage in the face of heavy enemy fire, and utmost devotion to duty, 1st Lt. Chontosh reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.  Commissioned 1995 from Churchville, New York."  Award given by the Commandant.

A simple citation for earning the Navy Cross (2nd highest combat medal, following the Medal of Honor), Capt. (then 1st LT) Brian Chontosh actions were all but, simple.  Churchville-Chili Central School,Class of 1991; Rochester Institute of Technology;

This gives FOLLOW ME a whole new meaning.  Now the rest of the story as written by journalist and broadcaster Bob Lonsberry:

"On the march into Baghdad Chontosh was a platoon leader rolling up Highway 1 in a humvee.   When all hell broke loose.  Ambush city.  The young Marines were being cut to ribbons by mortars, machine guns and RPG.   It was do or die and it was up to him. 



"So he moved to the side of his column, looking for a way to lead his men to safety. As he tried to poke a hole through the Iraqi line his humvee came under direct enemy machine gun fire. It was fish in a barrel and the Marines were the fish. Chontosh gave the order to attack.   He told his driver to floor the humvee directly at the machine gun emplacement that was firing at them. And he had the guy on top with the 50 cal unload on them.

"Within moments there were Iraqis slumped across the machine gun and Chontosh was still advancing, ordering his driver now to take the humvee directly into the Iraqi trench that was attacking his Marines.  Over into the battlement the humvee went and out the door Brian Chontosh bailed, carrying an M16 and a Beretta   and 228 years of Marine Corps pride.   And he ran along the trench, with its mortars and riflemen, machineguns and grenadiers. And he killed them all.

"He fought with the M16 until it was out of ammo.  Then he fought with the Beretta until it was out of ammo. Then he picked up a dead man's AK47 and fought with that until it was out of ammo.   Then he picked up another dead man's AK47 and fought with that until it was out of ammo.   At one point he even fired a discarded Iraqi RPG into an enemy cluster, sending attackers flying with its grenade explosion.  

"When he was done Brian Chontosh had cleared 200 yards of entrenched Iraqis from his platoon's flank. He had killed more than 20 and wounded at least as many more.   But that's probably not how he would tell it. He would probably merely say that his Marines were in trouble, and he got them out of trouble. Ooh-rah, and drive on."


Lonsberry went on to say,

"That's a big deal.  But you won't see it on the network news tonight    The odd fact about the American media in this war is that it's not covering the American military. The most plugged-in nation in the world is receiving virtually no true information about what its warriors are doing.   Oh, sure, there's a body count.  We know how many Americans have fallen.  And we see those same casket pictures day in and day out.  And we know all about improvised explosive devices and how we lost Fallujah and what Arab public-opinion polls say about us and how the world hates us.   We get a non-stop feed of gloom and doom.

"But we don't hear about the heroes.  The incredibly brave GIs who honorably do their duty.  The ones our grandparents would have carried on their shoulders down Fifth Avenue.  Accounts of American valor are dismissed by the press as propaganda, yet accounts of American difficulties are heralded as objectivity.  It makes you wonder if the role of the media is to inform or to depress - to report or to deride.   To tell the truth, or to feed us lies.

"But I guess it doesn't matter. We're going to turn out all right.   As long as men like Brian Chontosh wear our uniform."


Here is a newsman who sees things as they are and is not afraid to tell it as it is.   Thank you Mr. Lonsberry.  You might want to visit this mans web site for it is full of such reporting.  http://www.lonsberry.com/ 

Also, go to this web site for a great photo journalist representation of this material.

Semper Fi Capt. Chontosh.



          SEMPER FI


"Soldiers (Marines) Like Him"

by: Lisa Hilbers.

 Although his hair was graying and his legs weren't strong,

 His heart was powerfully full of Patriotic song.

 He had pride for his Country, the same one for which he'd fought,

 Laying down his life, so Freedom could be sought.

 When others began to stare, it changed his mind none,

 For he had earned the right; he had carried the soldier's gun.

 With his shaky right hand, he applied it to his chest,

 Stood as straight as he was able,his pride for Nation was above the rest.

 He had crawled through the mud, on his belly so cold,

 To protect Old Glory, while she flew so bold.

 Each star and each stripe, waved forever in his mind,

 And his wheelchair carried the results, of a long ago land mine.

 But he mustered the strength, from a place the others would never understand,

 For he still traveled with the nightmares, of the Iwo Jima sands.

 While the others remained seated, it was he that was in awe,

 For he knew if it wasn't for Soldier's like him, this  Nation would surely fall.

(Note from Ted:  Standing not only for the colors, but for the men carrying it and the crack of the band striking up the Marine Corps Hymn as they, "Pass In Review."  I always feel so inadequate removing my western hat and covering my heart  ... while my whole being wants to snap a sharp salute, while whispering a quiet, SEMPER Fi lads, SEMPER Fi.


USA Today
December 22, 2004
Pg. 20

A Presidential Salute

Laura joins me in wishing the men and women of our armed forces a happy holiday season.

Your valor, integrity and sacrifice are helping advance peace and freedom and are making the world a better place. You represent the best of America, and America is grateful for your service.

We remember all of those who have given their lives in the cause of liberty, and we honor their sacrifice. Our prayers are with their families.

We also thank all of the military families who are separated by the call of duty during this holy time of year.

In our servicemen and servicewomen, the world sees the character of a great nation: decent, idealistic and strong.

You have important work ahead of you, but I am confident that the security of our nation is in the best of hands. All Americans are proud of you, and I am proud to be the commander in chief of the finest military in the world.

May God bless you, and may God continue to bless America.

President George W. Bush, Washington



Subject: Hanoi Jane
His ode from the poet laureate expresses the sentiments of most Vietnam veterans.  Be warned of the rude and crude language contained herein.  If you are an easily offended pacifist, read no further.

An Ode to Jane Fonda
April 6th, 2005

The American Thinker

 Forever Green

By  Russ Vaughn


Jane Fonda seeks exoneration,
Forgiveness from her traitored nation.
What say you warriors fought that war?
Is forgiveness due that wartime whore?

So rich, so smart, she thought she knew
Much more than us, we bloodied few.
So smug, self-serving, seeking fame,
The rich bitch played her seditious game.

A game that cost me many friends,
Many, thanks to Jane, came to bad ends.
I've borne scars forty years or more,
From lies laid on me by this whore.

Self-serving now she sells her tale,
This traitor who should be in jail.
Is it within our souls to grant her grace?
Our souls shout, "No. spit in her face!"

So self assured, she played high stakes,
Telling American prisoners, "That's the breaks."
She accused brave men of heinous crimes,
Which were disproved in future times.

And now our country knows the truth
Jane Fonda betrayed us in our youth.
She asks us now to read her book,
Americans, the folks this bitch forsook.

So now she crawls, her conscience bare,
To tell us she screwed up back there.
Well, hell, we knew that way back then,
This Hanoi Jane who helped them win.

It was glory then for this airhead star,
But forever now she'll bear the scar
A scarlet letter she'll now wear,
A stench forever in her hair.

So Jane, dear, you must realize,
You're the devil in a helmet in our eyes.
When Vietnam vets raise up their toasts
It's to damn your soul, to salute our ghosts.

We swear, we living, to our long-dead brave,
We'll live to piss upon your grave.
So Jane, good fortune, unforeseen,
Your traitor's grave will be forever green.

Russ Vaughn
2d Bn, 327th Parachute Infantry Regiment
101st Airborne Division Vietnam 65-66
Russ Vaughn is the Poet Laureate of The American Thinker


It is always the best policy to speak the truth, unless, of course, you are an exceptionally good liar.  Ted

When all is said and done, the news media, be it paper, magazine, radio or TV, is nothing more than another profit center, trying to get you to watch and in so doing sell its wares and ideals.  They spend more time on marketing, image and making the dollar, and NEWS and FACTUAL REPORTING just doesn't rate very high on their lists.  They blend in and push their political agendas, their opinions, rather than just presenting facts and letting the audience THINK and LOGICALLY deduce their own opinions.   They have become the TALKING HEADS of this society.   Try FOX NEWS on satellite or cable ... they seem to be the best at being straight on and fair.   Also try the Ted

General Pitman, USMC

"This Letter of Apology"
Written by Lieutenant General Chuck Pitman, US Marine Corps, Retired:

For good and ill, the Iraqi prisoner abuse mess will remain an issue. On the one hand, right thinking Americans will abhor the stupidity of the actions while on the other hand, political glee will take control and fashion this minor event into some modern day massacre.

I humbly offer my opinion here:

I am sorry that the last seven times we Americans took up arms and sacrificed the blood of our youth, it was in the defense of Muslims (Bosnia, Kosovo, Gulf War 1, Kuwait, etc.).

I am sorry that no such call for an apology upon the extremists came after 9/11.

I am sorry that all of the murderers on 9/11 were Islamic Arabs.

I am sorry that most Arabs and Muslims have to live in squalor under savage dictatorships.

I am sorry that their leaders squander their wealth.

I am sorry that their governments breed hate for the US in their religious schools, mosques, and government-controlled media.

I am sorry that Yassar Arafat was kicked out of every Arab country and high-jacked the Palestinian "cause."

I am sorry that no other Arab country will take in or offer more than a token amount of financial help to those same Palestinians.

I am sorry that the U.S.A. has to step in and be the biggest financial supporter of poverty stricken Arabs while the insanely wealthy Arabs blame the USA for all their problems.

I am sorry that our own left wing, our media, and our own brainwashed masses do not understand any of this (from the misleading vocal elements of our society like radical professors, CNN and the NY TIMES).

I am sorry the United Nations scammed the poor people of Iraq out of the "food for oil" money so they could get rich while the common folk suffered.

I am sorry that some Arab governments pay the families of homicide bombers upon their death.

I am sorry that those same bombers are brainwashed thinking they will receive 72 virgins in "paradise."

I am sorry that the homicide bombers think pregnant women, babies, children, the elderly and other noncombatant civilians are legitimate targets.

I am sorry that our troops die to free more Arabs from the gang rape rooms and the filling of mass graves of dissidents of their own making.

I am sorry that Muslim extremists have killed more Arabs than any other group.

I am sorry that foreign trained terrorists are trying to seize control of Iraq and return it to a terrorist state.

I am sorry we don't drop a few dozen Daisy cutters on Fallujah.

I am sorry every time terrorists hide they find a convenient "Holy Site."

I am sorry they didn't apologize for driving a jet into the World Trade Center that collapsed and severely damaged Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church - one of our Holy Sites.

I am sorry they didn't apologize for flight 93 and 175, the USS Cole, the embassy bombings, the murders and beheadings of Nick Berg and Daniel Pearl, etc....etc!

I am sorry Michael Moore is American; he could feed a medium sized village in Africa.

America will get past this latest absurdity. We will punish those responsible because that is what we do.

We hang out our dirty laundry for the entire world to see. We move on. That's one of the reasons we are hated so much. We don't hide this stuff like all those Arab countries that are now demanding an apology.

Deep down inside, when most Americans saw this reported in the news, we were like - so what? We lost hundreds and made fun of a few prisoners. Sure, it was wrong, sure, it dramatically hurts our cause, but until captured we were trying to kill these same prisoners. Now we're supposed to wring our hands because a few were humiliated?

Our compassion is tempered with the vivid memories of our own people killed, mutilated and burnt amongst a joyous crowd of celebrating Fallujahans.

If you want an apology from this American, you're going to have a long wait!

You have a better chance of finding those seventy-two virgins.

Chuck Pitman

Lieutenant General, USMC



Editorial written by an American citizen

Published in a Tampa Bay newspaper

He did quite a job--didn't he?


I am tired of this nation worrying about whether we are offending some individual or their culture. Since the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, we have experienced a surge in patriotism by the majority of Americans. However, the dust from the attacks had barely settled when the "politically correct" crowd began complaining about the possibility that our patriotism was offending others.

I am not against immigration, nor do I hold a grudge against anyone who is seeking a better life by coming to America. Our population is almost entirely made up of descendants of immigrants.  However, there are a few things that those who have recently come to our country, and apparently some born here, need to understand. This idea of America being a multicultural community has served only to dilute our sovereignty and our national identity. As Americans, we have our own culture, our own society, our own language and our own lifestyle. This culture has been developed over centuries of struggles, trials, and victories by millions of men and women who have sought freedom.

We speak ENGLISH, not Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, or any other language.   Therefore, if you wish to become part of our society, learn the language!

"In God We Trust" is our national motto. This is not some Christian, right wing, or political slogan. We adopted this motto because Christian men and women, on Christian principles, founded this nation, and this is clearly documented.   It is certainly appropriate to display it on the walls of our schools. If God offends you, then I suggest you consider another part of the world as your new home, because God is part of our culture.

If Stars and Stripes offend you, or you don't like Uncle Sam, then you should seriously consider a move to another part of this planet. We are happy with our culture and have no desire to change, and we really don't care how you did things where you came from. This is OUR COUNTRY, our land, and our lifestyle. Our First Amendment gives every citizen the right to express his opinion and we will allow you every opportunity to do so But once you are done complaining, whining, and griping about our flag, our pledge, our national motto, or our way of life, I highly encourage you take advantage of one other great American freedom, THE RIGHT TO LEAVE. 

It is Time for America to speak up.

If you agree -- pass this along!



When 'Adeste Fidelis' and 'Semper fidelis' collide

For the second time in my life, I enter the Christmas season knowing my oldest son will be absent. Not really surprising since a lot of gifted and talented 22-year-olds spend the holidays with friends from school, a girlfriend's parents or friends on the ski slopes. Good kids, just like my son. Good kids, but not my son.

The first Christmas we were apart, he was safe with the drill instructors of the United States Marine Corps in San Diego. This time, he is half a world away at a forward operating base in western Iraq. I share the pain that any parent feels when the kids aren't home for the holidays. I hope that the parents whose sons and daughters are not home because of college, social or romantic conflicts can appreciate mine.

Instead of Christmas presents, I assemble packages on a very strict timetable, knowing that anything I send to my son will have about a two-week lag, at best.

The staff of my court has continually hounded me on something to send him as a Christmas gift. When I broached that subject with my son on one of our far-too-infrequent satellite phone conversations, his response was “nothing for me personally, just some stuff for all the Marines here with me.”

Marines live and die with a dedication to their God, their Country and their Corps. Semper fidelis. They share the toiletries, candy, ammunition, water, paperbacks, junk food, diaper wipes, news from home and the other things that young men need in a war in a faraway desert. They share the pain when their fellow Marines are killed and maimed doing the job that they all volunteered to do.

My son tells me that the best-kept secret of the Marines in Iraq is their morale. He and his fellow Marines actually find great humor in the gloom and doom reporting of the war that permeates the liberal American media. They know, firsthand, they are winning this war and that they are needed and loved by the vast majority of the Iraqi people.

Marines are not concerned with the incredible misinformation that the liberal media is spinning to the American public. They do their job with quiet confidence in their cause, their country and their commander in chief. Even in conditions that most of us would find unbearable, Marines adapt, improvise and overcome. That is the way of the Corps.

This Christmas will not be as merry as some of those past. I will get into the spirit, but I will be haunted by the memories of Christmas past and a happy little boy opening his presents around our tree, a little boy who loved a whole drumstick from the Christmas turkey, a little boy who usually fell asleep shortly after finishing his pumpkin pie with whipped cream.

If my timing is right, and things go well at the fleet post office, and the mail convoy is not engaged in transit by the enemy, maybe that little boy will open a package this morning in a desert far away. The package won't have the presents, drumstick or pumpkin pie, but maybe it will make him happy. Maybe he can take a nap this afternoon.

Christmas will go on for all parents who spend the holidays with a child absent. We will decorate the tree and enjoy the company of our family and friends. Memories will be happy and some will be sad, but we will all carry on with the Christmas spirit that defines families.

My son will spend Christmas with his other family, the family that has, for more than 230 years, defined honor, courage, and commitment to this great country: the United States Marine Corps.

I wish that my little boy could be with me this Christmas, but I understand that I must divide my time with his other family. As we enjoy the Christmas season, all of us might do well to remember that my son's other family is the reason that we are free to enjoy the holidays, and to have slept warmly and securely Christmas Eve.

Merry Christmas, Marine. Be safe and come home soon.

Bill Harris is judge of the 233rd District Court in Fort Worth, Texas
Bill Harris's son is on active duty in the Anbar province of Iraq.
This article was in the Christmas issue of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and is reprinted with their permission.


Injured Marine defies attackers


RAMADI, Iraq -

Once Marine Gunnery Sgt. Michael Burghardt realized he could wiggle his toes and fingers, he had one message for the insurgents who wounded him - defiance.

Marine Gunnery Sgt. Michael Burghardt signals defiance at his Iraqi attackers after being injured by an improvised explosive device near Ramadi. Attending to the Marine were Nebraska 167th Cavalry members Spc. John Adams (far left, in front) of Hastings, Neb., and Pfc. Darin Nelson of Fremont, Neb.

Burghardt, of Huntington Beach, Calif., started his third tour in Iraq trying to beat the insurgents to the IEDs - improvised explosive devices - and disarm them before the insurgents could set them off.

As is often the case, Burghardt and his Explosive Ordnance Disposal team were accompanied to a bomb site Monday by the First Platoon, 167th Cavalry of the Nebraska National Guard.

One IED had blown up a Bradley fighting vehicle and killed a U.S. soldier. As often happens, the insurgents left behind more IEDs. Burghardt disarmed two bombs that were found - quick action that probably saved the lives of several Nebraska soldiers.

But he couldn't get to a third.

When word spread that the third device had been found, 167th Capt. Jeff Searcey of Kearney, 1st Lt. Matthew Misfeldt of Omaha and their men hit the ground as a blast exploded skyward.

Burghardt was wounded.

But with two new young Marines in his ordnance disposal unit - and the insurgent attackers undoubtedly looking on - "I didn't want them to see the team leader carried away on a stretcher," he said.

So after the Nebraskans tended to wounds that reached from his boot tops to the small of his back, Burghardt rose to his feet and reached back with a one-finger salute for his attackers.

Iraq 1 finger salute

"I was angry," Burghardt said.

IEDs - which can be roadside bombs, car bombs or other booby traps - increasingly are the weapons of choice for the Iraqi insurgents.

Unwilling or unable to attack U.S. forces head-on, the insurgency has used the hidden explosives, often detonated by remote control. Some analysts have estimated that nearly 12,000 IED incidents occurred in Iraq in 2004.

The Explosive Ordnance Disposal units are assigned to locate, identify, disarm and dispose of IEDs. The Nebraskans alongside Burghardt's unit provide security at the scene, guarding the perimeter while the EOD teams do their dangerous work.

The 1st Platoon has been on 80 such missions, including some false alarms, since the 167th Cavalry arrived in Ramadi about 90 days ago.

Working together, the ordnance disposal Marines and the Nebraska National Guardsmen have developed a mutual respect - there's no Army-Marine trash-talking here.

"The biggest threat to us in Iraq is IEDs. We love working with them. They make us better soldiers," Misfeldt said.

Burghardt, an 18-year Marine with 15 years' experience disarming explosives, returns that admiration.

"I feel part of this Army team," he said. "They take care of us like brothers."

Burghardt received the Bronze Star during his last tour of duty for disarming 64 IEDs. This week's incident was his first injury.

Burghardt, 35, wouldn't accept painkillers when he was brought back to camp by the Nebraskans. He knew he might need them later. And he's not looking to leave Ramadi for five more months.

"I don't want a ticket out," he said. "I want to stay here so we can take as many people home as possible."

Soldiers all the way up to the brigade's commander, Col. John Gronski, viewed a photo of Burghardt - on his feet, arm extended and middle finger raised - as the embodiment of the American warrior.

As for Burghardt, he said he wanted to send a message to the insurgents who failed to kill him.

"I knew there was somebody disappointed out there."




It was our normal Thursday morning business meeting at our real-estate office. No big deal. Before the meeting we hung around the bagel table, as usual, with our coffee. He stood aside, looking a little shy and awkward and very young, a new face in a room full of extroverted salespeople. An average looking guy, maybe 5 feet 8 inches. A clean-cut, sweet-faced kid. I went over to chat with him. Maybe he was a new salesman?

He said he was just back from Kabul, Afghanistan. A Marine. Our office (and a local school) had been supportive by sending letters to him and other troops, which he had posted on the American Embassy door in Kabul. He stood guard there for four months and was shot at daily.

He had come to our office to thank us for our support, for all the letters during those scary times. I couldn't believe my ears. He wanted to thank us? We should be thanking him. But how? How can I ever show him my appreciation?

At the end of the sales meeting, he stepped quietly forward, no incredible hulk. As a matter of fact, he looked for all the world 15 years old to me. (The older I get, the younger they look.)

This young Marine, this clean-faced boy, had no qualms stepping up to the plate and dodging bullets so that I might enjoy the freedom to live my peaceful life in the land of the free. No matter the risk. Suddenly the most stressful concerns of my life seemed as nothing, my complacency flew right out the window with his every word. Somewhere, somehow, he had taken the words honor, courage and commitment into his very soul and laid his life on the line daily for me and us. A man of principle. He wants to do it. Relishes it. And he came to thank us? For a few letters? I fought back the tears as he spoke so briefly and softly.

He walked forward to our manager and placed a properly folded American flag in his hands. It had flown over the Embassy. He said thanks again. You could hear a pin drop. As I looked around I saw red faces everywhere fighting back the tears.

In a heartbeat, my disillusionment with young people today quickly vanished. In ordinary homes, in ordinary towns, kids like him are growing up proud to be an American and willing to die for it. Wow. We'll frame the flag and put it in the lobby. He only came to my office once, for just a few minutes. But I realize I rubbed shoulders with greatness in the flesh and in the twinkling of an eye my life is forever changed. His name is Michael Mendez, a corporal in the USMC. We are a great nation. We know because the makings of it walked into my office that day.

Ann Baker
Huntington Beach

A young Marine restores my faith
Golden Pen Award
Each Sunday The Orange County Register recognizes a letter that eloquently expresses a viewpoint or engenders a debate on a topic of public interest.

Today's winner is Ann Baker, a real-estate agent who lives in Huntington Beach


November 25th, 2004
" Major Zarnik - these are MY MARINES and I am giving them to you ......"

I want to share with you my most recent Air Force Reserve trip. I had decided to go back into the Air Force Reserves as a part time reservist and after 6 months of training, I have recently been promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and have been fully mission qualified as an Aircraft Commander of a KC-135R strato tanker aircraft.

On Friday of last week, my crew and I were tasked with a mission to provide air refueling support in order to tanker 6 F-16's over to Incirlik Air Base in Turkey. We were then to tanker back to the states, 6 more F-16's that were due maintenance. It started out as a fairly standard mission - one that I have done many times as an active duty Captain in my former jet - the KC10a extender.

We dragged the F-16's to Moron Air Base in Spain where we spent the night and then finished the first part of our mission the next day by successfully delivering them to Incirlik. When I got on the ground in Turkey, I received a message to call the Tanker Airlift Control Center that my mission would change. Instead of tankering the F-16's that were due maintenance, I was cut new orders to fly to Kuwait City and pick up 22 "HR's" and return them to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.

It had been a while since I had heard of the term "HR" used, and as I pondered what the acronym could possibly stand for, when it dawned on me that it stood for human remains. There were 22 fallen comrades who had just been killed in the most recent attacks in Fallujah and Baghdad, Iraq over the last week.

I immediately alerted the crew of the mission change and although they were exhausted due to an ocean crossing, the time change and minimum ground time in Spain for crew rest, we all agreed that it was more important to get these men back to their families as soon as possible.

We were scheduled to crew rest in Incirlik, Turkey for the evening and start the mission the next day. Instead, we decided to extend/continue our day and fly to Kuwait in order to pick up our precious cargo. While on the flight over to Kuwait, I knew that there were protocol procedures for accepting and caring for human remains, however, in my 13 years of active duty service, I never once had to refer to this regulation. As I read the regulation on the flight over, I felt prepared and ready to do the mission. My game plan was to pick up the HR's and turn around to fly to Mildenhal Air Base in England, spend the night, and then fly back the next day. This was the quickest way to get them home, considering the maximum crew duty day that I could subject my crew to legally and physically. I really pushed them to the limits but no one complained at all.

I thought that I was prepared for the acceptance of these men until we landed at Kuwait International. I taxied the jet over to a staging area where the honor guard was waiting to load our soldiers. I stopped the jet and the entire crew was required to stay on board. We opened the cargo door, and according to procedure, I had the crew line up in the back of the aircraft in formation and stand at attention. As the cargo loader brought up the first pallet of caskets, I ordered the crew to "Present Arms." Normally, we would snap a salute at this command, however, when you are dealing with a fallen soldier, the salute is a slow 3 second pace to position. As I stood there and finally saw the first four of twenty-two caskets draped with the American Flags, the reality had hit me. As the Marine Corps honor guard delivered the first pallet on board, I then ordered the crew to "Order Arms" - where they rendered an equally slow 3 second return to the attention position. I then commanded the crew to assume an at ease position and directed them to properly place the pallet. The protocol requires that the caskets are to be loaded so when it comes time to exit the aircraft - they will go head first. We did this same procedure for each and every pallet until we could not fit any more.

I felt a deep pit in my stomach when there were more caskets to be brought home and that they would have to wait for the next jet to come through. I tried to do everything in my power to bring more home but I had no more space on board. When we were finally loaded, with our precious cargo and fueled for the trip back to England, a Marine Corps Colonel from first battalion came on board our jet in order to talk to us. I gathered the crew to listen to him and his words of wisdom.

He introduced himself and said that it is the motto of the Marines to leave no man behind and it makes their job easier knowing that there were men like us to help them complete this task. He was very grateful for our help and the strings that we were pulling in order to get this mission done in the most expeditious manner possible. He then said -" Major Zarnik - these are MY MARINES and I am giving them to you. Please take great care of them as I know you will." I responded with telling him that they are my highest priority and that although this was one of the saddest days of my life, we are all up for the challenge and will go above and beyond to take care of your Marines - "Semper Fi Sir" A smile came on his face and he responded with a loud and thunderous, "Ooo Rah". He then asked me to please pass along to the families that these men were extremely brave and had made the ultimate sacrifice for their country and that we appreciate and empathize with what they are going through at this time of their grievance. With that, he departed the jet and we were on our way to England.

I had a lot of time to think about the men that I had the privilege to carry. I had a chance to read the manifest on each and every one of them. I read about their religious preferences, their marital status, the injuries that were their cause of death. All of them were under age 27 with most in the 18-24 range. Most of them had wives and children. They had all been killed by an " IED" which I can only deduce as an [improvised] explosive devices. Mostly fatal head injuries and injuries to the chest area. I could not even imagine the bravery that they must have displayed and the agony suffered in this God Forsaken War. My respect and admiration for these men and what they are doing to help others in a foreign land is beyond calculation. I know that they are all with God now and in a better place.

The stop in Mildenhal was uneventful and then we pressed on to Dover where we would meet the receiving Marine Corps honor guard. When we arrived, we applied the same procedures in reverse. The head of each casket was to come out first. This was a sign of respect rather than defeat. As the honor guard carried each and every American flag covered casket off of the jet, they delivered them to awaiting families with military hearses. I was extremely impressed with how diligent the Honor Guard had performed the seemingly endless task of delivering each of the caskets to the families without fail and with precision. There was not a dry eye on our crew or in the crowd. The Chaplain then said a prayer followed by a speech from Lt. Col. Klaus of the second Battalion. In his speech, he also reiterated similar condolences to the families as the Colonel from First Battalion back in Kuwait.

I then went out to speak with the families as I felt it was my duty to help console them in this difficult time. Although I would probably be one of the last military contacts that they would have for a while - the military tends to take care of it's own. I wanted to make sure that they did not feel abandoned and more than that appreciated for their ultimate sacrifice. It was the most difficult thing that I have ever
done in my life. I listened to the stories of each and every one that I had come in contact with and they all displayed a sense of pride during an obviously difficult time.

The Marine Corps had obviously prepared their families well for this potential outcome.

So, why do I write this story to you all? I just wanted to put a little personal attention to the numbers that you hear about and see in the media. It is almost like we are desensitized by the "numbers" of our fallen comrades coming out of Iraq. I heard one commentator say that "it is just a number". Are you kidding me? These are our American Soldiers not numbers! It is truly a sad situation that I hope will end soon. Please hug and embrace your loved ones a little closer and know that there are men out there that are defending you and trying to make this a better world. Please pray for their families and when you hear the latest statistic's and numbers of our soldiers killed in combat, please remember this story. It is the only way that I know to more
personalize these figures and have them truly mean something to us all.

Thanks for all of your support for me and my family as I take on this new role in completing my Air Force Career and supporting our country. I greatly appreciate all of your comments, gestures and prayers.

May God Bless America, us all, and especially the United States Marine Corps.

Semper Fi

Maj. Zarnik, USAFR



A letter home from an Air Force pilot in Afghanistan (July 2011)

Hope all is well. I have some down time so I am checking mail before I hit my rack and figured I'd drop a line and to tell everyone I said hello. I also wanted to tell you something that I had the honor to witness about a few weeks or so ago. Over here I have the unfortunate duty to send Soldiers, Airman, Sailors and Marines that have paid the expensive price for another persons freedom home. In my short time here, far too many of them were sent home this way. Each time we send our fallen warriors home we give a small "dignified ceremony" where a few hundred brothers and sisters in arms pay respect as they are loaded onto the aircraft. I hate to say this but it's a tremendous sight, and with this being a NATO base it's not only Americans in the ceremony.

Having to manage the upload of the rest of the cargo after the ceremony is complete I heard and saw something that will stick with me the rest of my life. As I began to work with the loadmaster we had to reposition the "transfer cases" of four of our fallen, one Air Force, One Army and Two Marines. The only people left on the plane were the two loadmasters, two Army Sergeants who work for mortuary affairs, a hand full of Marines, and myself.

As we are getting ready to move the cases, the highest ranking Marine, a Staff Sergeant, asked if  they could help. The loadmaster told him where they had to be moved the Staff Sergeant turned and told his guys what to do. As they were getting ready to move the flag covered transfer cases the SSGT barked out "make sure yall put the Marines next to each other."

 After they put the Fallen Marines in place, each Marine saluted the fallen and walked off. That floored me! Out of all the other times I had to do this I never had any other unit make sure that not only one of their own was by themselves but show them so much respect with a farewell salute. I have always heard once a Marine always a Marine, and I see it from friends like yourself and others I know, but at that moment I saw its true meaning.

I have never seen another that moving since then nor do I expect to.

I have always had respect for the Marines and in retrospect I should have joined the Marines when I first came into the service, this just shows me that the title of U.S. Marine is more than just that title and there is no other profession, no other career, no other unit that compares. I love my Air Force, I understand the need for the Army and Navy but I respect the Marines.

I just needed to tell someone that and no one else here understands this and I knew you would. Let everyone know I was asking for them, I hope you have been smoking good cigars and with any luck I can get some of the Cubans I have been smoking here back with me to give out. I should be home soon and can't wait. Talk to you soon.


Bravo Lima

A Simple Thank You

Last week, while traveling to Chicago on business, I noticed a Marine sergeant traveling with a folded flag, but did not put two and two together. After we’d boarded our flight, I turned to the sergeant, who’d been invited to sit in First Class (and was seated across from me), and inquired if he was heading home.

“No, sir,” he responded.

“Heading out?” I asked.

“No, sir. I’m escorting a soldier (Marine) home.”

“Going to pick him up?”

“No, sir. He is with me right now. He was killed in Iraq. I’m taking him home to his family.”

The realization of what he had been asked to do hit me like a punch to the gut. It was an honor for him. He told me that, although he didn’t know the soldier (Marine), he had delivered the news of his passing to the soldier’s (Marine's) family and felt as if he did know them after so many conversations in so few days. I turned back to him, extended my hand, and said, “Thank you. Thank you for doing what you do so my family and I can do what we do.”

Upon landing in Chicago the pilot stopped short of the gate and made the following announcement over the intercom.

“Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to note that we have had the honor of having Sergeant Steeley of the United States Marine Corps join us on this flight. He is escorting a fallen comrade back home to his family. I ask that you please remain in your seats when we open the forward door [so as to] allow Sergeant Steeley to deplane and receive his fellow soldier (Marine).  We will then turn off the seat belt sign.”

Without a sound, all went as requested. I noticed the sergeant saluting the casket as it was brought off the plane, and his action made me realize that I am proud to be an American. So here’s a public thank-you to our military for doing what you do so we can live the way we do.

Stuart Margel, Washington, D.C.

Note from Ted: A Navy person is a SAILOR; A Air Force person is an AIRMAN; A Army person is a SOLDER; A MARINE IS A MARINE.



First Place
Todd Heisler The Rocky Mountain News

1st Place Picture
When 2nd Lt. James Cathey's body arrived at the Reno Airport, Marines climbed into the cargo hold of the plane and draped the flag over his casket as passengers watched the family gather on the tarmac.

During the arrival of another Marine's casket last year at Denver International Airport, Major Steve Beck described the scene as so powerful: "See the people in the windows? They sat right there in the plane, watching those Marines. You gotta wonder what's going through their minds, knowing that they're on the plane that brought him home," he said. "They will remember being on that plane for the rest of their lives. They're going to
remember bringing that Marine home. And they should."

Second Place
Todd Heisler The Rocky Mountain News

2nd Place Picture
The night before the burial of her husband's body, Katherine Cathey refused to leave the casket, asking to sleep next to his body for the last time.

The Marines made a bed for her, tucking in the sheets below the flag. Before she fell asleep, she opened her laptop computer and played songs that reminded her of 'Cat,' and one of the Marines asked if she wanted them to continue standing watch as she slept.

"I think it would be kind of nice if you kept doing it," she said. "I think that's what he would have wanted."


"Criticism is necessary and useful; it is often indispensable; but it can never take the place of action, or be even a poor substitute for it ... It is the doer of deeds who actually counts in the battle for life, and not the man who looks on and says how the fight ought to be fought, without himself sharing the stress and the danger."
Theodore Roosevelt, 1894



TEN HUT .... 




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Marines with Folded Flags


Almighty Father, whose command is over all and whose love never fails; let me be aware of Thy presence and obedient to Thy will.  Keep me true to my best self, guarding me against dishonesty in purpose and deed, and helping me so to live that I can stand unashamed and unafraid before my fellow Marines, my loved ones, and Thee.   Protect those in whose love I live, give me the will to do the work of a Marine and to accept my share of responsibilities with vigor and enthusiasm.  Grant me fortitude that I may be proficient in my daily performance.  Keep me loyal and faithful to my superior officers; make me considerate of those entrusted to my leadership and faithful to the duties my country and the Marine Corps has entrusted to me.  Help me always to wear my uniform with dignity, and let it remind me daily of the traditions of the service of which I am part.  If I am inclined to doubt, steady my faith; if I am tempted, make me strong to resist; If I should miss the mark, give me courage to try again.   Guide me with the light of truth and grant me wisdom by which I may understand the answer to my prayer.



Cpl (E4) Luedke, Ted W       USMC1857316             1958 - 1962    1st MAW
Sr Drill Sgt & Act 1st Sgt          USAR390-xx-xxxx    1978 - 1988   84th Div


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