It is the
soldier, not the reporter,
who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the soldier, not the poet,
who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the
soldier, not the campus organizer,
who has given us the freedom to demonstrate.
It is the soldier, not the lawyer,
who has given us the right to a fair trial.
It is the
who salutes the flag,
who serves under the flag,
and whose coffin is draped by the flag,
who allows the protester to burn the flag.
Don't take it lightly!
This is a poem being sent
from a marine. For those who read it, please pass it on to all those
you know. It makes you truly be thankful for all of our troops.
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 men
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 great 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.
~Corporal Aaron M. Gilbert~
~UNITED STATES MARINE~
~USS SAIPAN, PERSIAN GULF~
MARCH 23, 2003
HEY DAD, DOWN HERE. Do me a
favor and label this "THE MARINE" and send it to everybody on your
distribution list. Even leave this paragraph in it. I want this rolling
all over the U.S. I want every home reading it. Every eye to see it.
And every heart to feel it. So can you please send this out for me? I
would but I am sorta on the USS SAIPAN and my e-mail time isn't that
long. 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 my wife has our child, but tell her that I love her, and Lord
willing, I will be coming home soon.
The German Government may
not care, but the troops see it diferently.
A little background - The German Army is at Gates of all military
installations in Germany providing entry control on a 24 X 7 basis to
relieve US Forces that are in middle east..
A different perspective on
our German allies. Our governments may be at odds over Iraq Policy - but
Military understands Military.
Here are our Allies!
Sunday, 30 March 2003
As usual I was running late. So, you can imagine my frustration level
as I approached the main gate of Ramstein Air Base only to find traffic
backed up! Nearing the checkpoint I realized that not only was there a
long line of cars, but traffic had come to a complete stop as a result
of all entrance gates being closed. Over the past 18-months, there have
been many opportunities to practice our patience as we have had to
"hurry up and wait" as a result of heightened security. While we
realize the necessity, it's
still frustrating at times for even the most easy-going folks. This was
one of those times for me! I needed to be where I was going, and I
needed to be there NOW! The German soldiers, the ones manning the
entrances of American military installations here in Germany, were
just milling around, chatting as if those of us in line had all
the time in the world. Things seemed to go from bad to worse! The
German gate guards began walking among the stopped cars, asking us to
turn off our engines and headlights. I realized that no traffic was
exiting or entering the Air Base. My feelings of frustration
began to turn to ones of concern. Just what was going on? A few
minutes later I noticed blue lights approaching from the direction of
the air terminal. Close behind were two military medical buses with
their RED CROSS. Lights were on in the buses, and I.V. bags could be
seen hanging. It was then that I realized that these were more of our
wounded warriors being transported from the battlefields to Landstuhl
Regional Medical Center for treatment.
I certainly wasn't prepared
for what happened next. All of the German soldiers, our gate guards,
began walking toward the concrete barriers that divide the inbound and
outbound lanes of traffic. As the blue lights neared, more German
soldiers seemed to appear from nowhere, lining the road, shoulder to
shoulder. Right on cue, without a word being spoken, these soldiers
snapped a sharp salute as the buses drove pass, rendering arms until
well after the last bus had passed.
Needless to say, I was
speechless and deeply moved. What a show of respect for fellow
--- Soldier to Soldier, rendering honor and respect! Our allies, our
comrades, those who know the price that some have to pay for freedom did
not have to be asked or prompted, it came from their character and
soldiering heart! May God bless and watch over all soldiers and their
loved ones as they stand in harm's way for us! Blessings and Peace,
CH (COL) DAVID E.MCLEAN
CHIEF, PASTORAL SERVICES ERMC/LRMC
COMMERCIAL FROM US: 011-49-6371-86-8143/8399 EMAIL:
One more little note to this...Two AM in the morning, a single C-17
lands at Ramstein with one patient on board -19 year Pfc. Jessica Lynch,
and who shows up to escort the ambulance to Landstuhl...over 100 German
Politzi cars and entire Germany Army contingency assigned to Ramstein..
This is a forward I
received, written by the wife of the Commanding General, United States
Army Europe and 7th Army (General B.B. Bell) in Germany.
We are so grateful for your concern and for your prayers. Most of our
German friends are so puzzled by their government's decision. The hoards
of demonstrators we have had are, for the most part, young. The older
folks know how we saved Europe some 60 years ago. My opinion is that the
younger generations see us as having everything they want. I am
convinced that their hatred stems from envy, on several layers.
There have been, lately, instances of Americans being heckled in towns.
These incidents have not been anything but words. Americans are
cautioned to keep a low profile and we are warned to stay away from some
areas, like Hamburg, but we mainly go about business as usual. If any of
this changes B. B. may have to put certain places off limits. I believe
that we will see some repositioning of our troops in Europe in the next
year or two or three. There may even come a time when families won't be
allowed to accompany their soldiers over here and those soldiers will
just come for a "short" tour, much like we do in Korea. All this is very
sad but was actually in the planning before all these latest
To answer your question, Anne, I feel safe. As I have told all of you,
this house is a fenced (with barbed wire) compound behind B. B.'s office
building. There are MPs on the gate all the time. And the gate can only
be opened by them or by our remotes. So we are safe that way. B. B.
never drives. He has a driver and a bodyguard that ride with him and
there are what are called, "chase cars" in front of him and in back.
I have been pretty much free to come and go as I pleased until about a
week ago. That is when I was assigned a bodyguard. She drives me
everywhere I go now and though she is just darling and wonderful, it is
a pain to have to plan instead of just going spontaneously. She is about
5' 1' tall, really adorable, maybe weighs 100 pounds and is, as B.B.
says, "tough as woodpecker lips." When she runs with him her little legs
are one solid muscle. She is a crack shot and attended and was the
number one graduate of the elite British Counter Terrorism School. She
grew up on a farm in Missouri, has hunted since she was a little girl
and told me about helping butcher hogs. So I feel pretty safe with
little, bitty Angel, which is her name. I don't know how long we will
have this arrangement. I hope it is not for too long for both our sakes.
I want to tell you all about today. Today was a defining moment for me;
it ranks with my wedding day and the day Buck was born as a day so
meaningful that I am filled with too much emotion to handle. B. B. and I
went to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, one of the three Army
hospitals left in Germany. As you all know this hospital is where almost
all injured soldiers are brought from operations in the Middle East. We
arrived there around 1:30, were briefed by the hospital commander about
the patients we would see and then headed up to the second floor.
The first patient we saw had had his hand crushed. It was wrapped up in
bandages as thick as a pillow but you could see the black fingers. They
are trying to save it. He faces skin grafts and maybe worse if they
can't save it. He was medivaced from Kuwait a week ago and two days ago
his wife gave birth to their second child in Weiden, Germany. His was
anxious to see her and the baby, to get well and to head back to the
front. He did not complain at all about his pain and had such a positive
The next fellow we saw was a marine who had been run over by a tank in
the desert. Only the softness of the sand saved his life. His entire
pelvic area was crushed, creating many urology nightmares. He has had a
colostomy and faces months of surgeries. The Docs believe he can fully
recover, a miracle if you think about the tonnage that rolled over him.
He was absolutely adorable. He was from Kansas and he and B. B. got into
pheasant and deer hunting right away. His spirits are good and he kept
trying to sit up tall in the bed even though it was apparent he was in
pain. He kept asking about his unit, "where are they?", "How close to
Baghdad?" B. B. asked me to leave the room a couple of times so that he
could talk top-secret stuff with this soldier.
The next fellow we saw was from Alabama. A bullet entered his lower
abdomen and traveled up and exited through his back. He was on oxygen
but pulled the mask off and refused to put it back on. He wanted to tell
B. B. that he
had met him at Fort Knox when he was there for his initial training. He
was 21 years old and had been married for one year. He was frantic to
know about his buddies, where they were, how they were doing. He said he
had such guilt about leaving them. He looked at me as if he were
deciding whether he should say something or not. Then he somehow raised
himself up on an elbow, took B.' s hand and said, "Sir, when I got hit I
want you to know that I took a couple of the sons of bitches down." His
commitment and his focus were still there and all he can think of is
getting well and rejoining his unit.
The last two guys were in Intensive Care. Their rooms, by request were
side by side. The first one had no legs. He had stepped out of his track
onto a mine. He does not remember anything but the pain. He choked up
when he told B. B., "Sir, what I did was stupid." B.B. assured him that
"stupid" was thinking that he did anything wrong in a war where there
was so much to think about and sleep was a rare commodity.
As he lay there in the desert, a medic ran up to him, stepped on a mine
and lost a leg too. These were the guys who were side by side. The
soldier who had lost both legs said, in response to B. B. asking him
what he could do for him, "Sir, I am fine. I have everything I need. I
have nothing to complain about."
Well, that was it for me. I just cried. I left the room but the soldier
asked me to come back. "M'am, don't cry for me. Let's pray for all who
are carrying on." Even now I have to cry. I wear a Hooah pin that Patty
Shinseki gave me and I took it off and gave it to him.
Today, for the first time ever, I was in the presence of real heroes,
indescribable bravery and I can't tell you how honored I am to have
touched them. I held their hands and told them all how proud we and the
nation are and that I love them. At the end of the visit I was totally
wrung out and just wanted to get home and go in my room and be by myself
and thank God for these young men and women who are giving so much. My
blood boils with the protests of the Hollywood elite whose easy and
privileged lives exist because of these soldiers lying in that hospital.
They have no idea how they hurt these men and women and their families
with their rhetoric. Their shallowness is sickening after being in the
presence of true character and heroism.
One last thing I want to tell you. B. B. collected the names and numbers
of all their parents and two wives and came back and called them all. I
love that he did that. There is no one I know who loves soldiers more
than he does and the soldiers are like dogs and children. You can't fool
them. They know who really has them in their hearts.
Well, sorry for that soapbox soliloquy. It has been that kind of day.
B.B. intends to visit weekly and I hope I am able to go with him every
single time. They tell me that Katie Couric was there, setting up for
broadcast from Ramstein, where Landstuhl Hospital is located. Glad I
didn't run into her either!
Again, thank all of you for your concern. B. B. and I are fine. Continue
to pray for our military forces. They are just now beginning to get into
the scary part of this war.
I love and miss you all.
Letter to the Editor,
The Entertainers of 2003 have been in all
of the news media lately. it seems News Paper, Television and Radio has
been more than ready to put them and their message before the public.
I would like to remind the people of what
the entertainers of 1943 were doing, (60 years ago). Most of these brave
men have since passed on.
Alec Guinness (Star Wars) operated a
British Royal Navy landing craft on D-Day.
James Doohan ("Scotty" on Star Trek) landed in Normandy with the U. S.
Army on D-Day.
Donald Pleasance (The Great Escape) really was an R. A. F. pilot who was
shot down, held prisoner and tortured by the Germans.
David Niven was a Sandhurst graduate and Lt. Colonel of the British
Commandos in Normandy.
James Stewart flew 20 missions as a B-24 pilot in Europe.
Clark Gable (Mega-Movie Star when war broke out) was a waist gunner
flying missions on a B-17 in Europe.
Charlton Heston was an Army Air Corps Sergeant in Kodiak.
Earnest Borgnine was a U. S. Navy Gunners Mate 1935-1945.
Charles Durning was a U. S. Army Ranger at Normandy.
Charles Bronson was a tail gunner in the Army Air Corps.
George C. Scott was a U. S. Marine.
Eddie Albert (Green Acres TV) was awarded a Bronze Star for his heroic
action as a U. S. Naval officer aiding Marines at the horrific battle on
the island of Tarawa in the Pacific Nov. 1943.
Brian Keith served as a Marine rear gunner in several actions against
the Japanese on Rabal in the Pacific.
Lee Marvin was a marine on Saipan when he was wounded.
John Russell was a Marine on Guadalcanal.
Robert Ryan was a U. S. Marine who served with the O. S. S. in
Tyrone Power (an established movie star when Pearl Harbor was bombed)
joined the Marines, was a pilot flying supplies into, and wounded
Marines out of Iwo Jima and Okinawa.
Audie Murphy , little guy from Texas, Most Decorated serviceman of WWII.
I wish I had room to tell you more about
Actor Sterling Hayden and an actor by the name of Peter J. Ortiz (Twelve
O'clock High, Rio Grande and The Wings of Eagles), but this would turn
into a book.
There is quite a huge gap between the
heroics and patriotism in 1943 and the cowardly despicable posturing of
the Hollywood crowd of today... all of which smack of sedition and
Think about this every time you are
getting ready to go to the movies or go to a concert!!