Category Archive 'USMC'
01 Jun 2020

The First Marines on Peleliu

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Robert Leckie, Helmet for my Pillow, 1957:

We were leaving. The battle had been won. Extermination had come to the Japanese ten thousand on Peleliu and my regiment — the First — was licking its wounds on the beach. Of my battalion — a force of some fifteen hundred men — there remained but twenty-eight effectives when the command came for the last assault on that honeycomb of caves and pillboxes which the Japanese had carved into Bloody Nose Ridge — in men and blood and agony the most costly spit of land in the wide Pacific. When the command came, they rose from their holes like shades from sepulchers … and advanced. They could not run, they could barely walk — and they dragged their weapons. But they obeyed and they attacked.

25 May 2020

“Six Seconds”

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Yale&Haeter

This Memorial Day story is an excerpt from Lt. Gen. John Kelly’s Nov. 13, 2010 speech to the Semper Fi Society of St. Louis, reprinted in The American Legion Magazine.

[Paragraph formatting and emphasis added]

[O]n April 22, 2008, two Marine infantry battalions, 1/9 “The Walking Dead,” and 2/8, were switching out in Ramadi. One battalion was in the closing days of its deployment, the other just starting its seven-month combat tour. Two Marines, Cpl. Jonathan Yale and Lance Cpl. Jordan Haerter, 22 and 20 respectively, one from each battalion, were assuming the watch at the entrance gate of an outpost that contained a makeshift barracks housing 50 Marines.

The same ramshackle building was also home to 100 Iraqi police, our allies in the fight against terrorists in Ramadi – known at the time as the most dangerous city on earth, and owned by al-Qaeda.

Yale was a dirt-poor mixed-race kid from Virginia, with a wife, a mother and a sister, who all lived with him and he supported. He did this on a yearly salary of less than $23,000. Haerter, on the other hand, was a middle-class white kid from Long Island. They were from two completely different worlds. Had they not joined the Marines, they would never have met each other, or understood that multiple Americas exist simultaneously, depending on one’s race, ethnicity, religious affiliation, education level, economic status, or where you might have been born. But they were Marines, combat Marines, forged in the same crucible, and because of this bond they were brothers as close – or closer – than if they were born of the same woman. The mission orders they received from their sergeant squad leader, I’m sure, went something like this: “OK, take charge of this post and let no unauthorized personnel or vehicles pass. You clear?” I’m also sure Yale and Haerter rolled their eyes and said, in unison, something like, “Yes, sergeant,” with just enough attitude that made the point, without saying the words, “No kidding, sweetheart. We know what we’re doing.” They then relieved two other Marines on watch and took up their post at the entry-control point of Joint Security Station Nasser, in the Sophia section of Ramadi, al Anbar, Iraq.

A few minutes later, a large blue truck turned down the alleyway – perhaps 60 to 70 yards in length – and sped its way through the serpentine concrete Jersey walls. The truck stopped just short of where the two were posted and detonated, killing them both. Twenty-four brick masonry houses were damaged or destroyed. A mosque 100 yards away collapsed. The truck’s engine came to rest 200 yards away, knocking down most of a house down before it stopped. Our explosive experts reckoned the blast was caused by 2,000 pounds of explosive.

Because these two young infantrymen didn’t have it in their DNA to run from danger, they saved 150 of their Iraqi and American brothers in arms. When I read the situation report a few hours after it happened, I called the regimental commander for details. Something about this struck me as different. We expect Marines, regardless of rank or MOS, to stand their ground and do their duty, and even die in the process, if that is what the mission takes. But this just seemed different.

The regimental commander had just returned from the site, and he agreed, but reported that there were no American witnesses to the event – just Iraqi police. If there was any chance of finding out what actually happened, and then to decorate the two Marines to acknowledge their bravery, I’d have to do it, because a combat award requires two eyewitnesses, and we figured the bureaucrats back in Washington would never buy Iraqi statements. If it had any chance at all, it had to come under the signature of a general officer. I traveled to Ramadi the next day and spoke individually to a half-dozen Iraqi police, all of whom told the same story. They all said, “We knew immediately what was going on as soon as the two Marines began firing.” The Iraqi police related that some of them also fired, and then, to a man, ran for safety just prior to the explosion. All survived. Many were injured, some seriously. One of the Iraqis elaborated, and with tears welling up, said, “They’d run like any normal man would to save his life. ”What he didn’t know until then, and what he learned that very instant, was that Marines are not normal. Choking past the emotion, he said, “Sir, in the name of God, no sane man would have stood there and done what they did. They saved us all.”

What we didn’t know at the time, and only learned after I submitted both Yale and Haerter for posthumous Navy Crosses, was that one of our security cameras recorded some of the attack. It happened exactly as the Iraqis described it. It took exactly six seconds from when the truck entered the alley until it detonated. You can watch the last six seconds of their young lives. I suppose it took about a second for the two Marines to separately come to the same conclusion about what was going on once the truck came into their view at the far end of the alley. No time to talk it over, or call the sergeant to ask what they should do. Only enough time to take half an instant and think about what the sergeant told them to do only a few minutes before: “Let no unauthorized personnel or vehicles pass.” It took maybe another two seconds for them to present their weapons, take aim, and open up. By this time, the truck was halfway through the barriers and gaining speed.

Here the recording shows a number of Iraqi police, some of whom had fired their AKs, now scattering like the normal and rational men they were, some running right past the Marines, who had three seconds left to live. For about two seconds more, the recording shows the Marines firing their weapons nonstop. The truck’s windshield explodes into shards of glass as their rounds take it apart and tear into the body of the son of a bitch trying to get past them to kill their brothers – American and Iraqi – bedded down in the barracks, totally unaware that their lives at that moment depended entirely on two Marines standing their ground. Yale and Haerter never hesitated. By all reports and by the recording, they never stepped back. They never even shifted their weight. With their feet spread shoulder-width apart, they leaned into the danger, firing as fast as they could. They had only one second left to live, and I think they knew. The truck explodes. The camera goes blank. Two young men go to their God. Six seconds. Not enough time to think about their families, their country, their flag, or about their lives or their deaths, but more than enough time for two very brave young men to do their duty.

Hat tip to Peter Somerville.

10 Nov 2019

Marine Corps Birthday

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Founded November 10, 1775.

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Maj. Gen. John A. Lejeune’s Birthday Message

RPS ORDERS
No. 47 (Series 1921)
HEADQUARTERS U.S. MARINE CORPS
Washington, November 1, 1921

759. The following will be read to the command on the 10th of November, 1921, and hereafter on the 10th of November of every year. Should the order not be received by the 10th of November, 1921, it will be read upon receipt.

(1) On November 10, 1775, a Corps of Marines was created by a resolution of Continental Congress. Since that date many thousand men have borne the name “Marine”. In memory of them it is fitting that we who are Marines should commemorate the birthday of our corps by calling to mind the glories of its long and illustrious history.

(2) The record of our corps is one which will bear comparison with that of the most famous military organizations in the world’s history. During 90 of the 146 years of its existence the Marine Corps has been in action against the Nation’s foes. From the Battle of Trenton to the Argonne, Marines have won foremost honors in war, and is the long eras of tranquility at home, generation after generation of Marines have grown gray in war in both hemispheres and in every corner of the seven seas, that our country and its citizens might enjoy peace and security.

(3) In every battle and skirmish since the birth of our corps, Marines have acquitted themselves with the greatest distinction, winning new honors on each occasion until the term “Marine” has come to signify all that is highest in military efficiency and soldierly virtue.

(4) This high name of distinction and soldierly repute we who are Marines today have received from those who preceded us in the corps. With it we have also received from them the eternal spirit which has animated our corps from generation to generation and has been the distinguishing mark of the Marines in every age. So long as that spirit continues to flourish Marines will be found equal to every emergency in the future as they have been in the past, and the men of our Nation will regard us as worthy successors to the long line of illustrious men who have served as “Soldiers of the Sea” since the founding of the Corps.

JOHN A. LEJEUNE,
Major General Commandant

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The Magic of “a Few Good Men”

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The Old Corps

Tun Tavern, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, November 10th 1775

Captains Nicholas and Mullens, having been tasked by the 2nd Continental Congress to form 2 battalions of Marines, set up the Corps’ first recruiting station in the tavern.

The first likely prospect was, in typical recruiters fashion, promised a “life of high adventure in service to Country and Corps”. And, as an extra bonus: If he enlisted now he would receive a free tankard of ale….

The recruit gladly accepted the challenge and, receiving the free tankard of ale, was told to wait at the corner table for orders.

The first Marine sat quietly at the table sipping the ale when he was joined by another young man, who had two tankards of ale.

The first Marine looked at the lad and asked where he had gotten the two tankards of ale?

The lad replied that he had just joined this new outfit called the Continental Marines, and as an enlistment bonus was given two tankards of ale.

The first Marine took a long hard look at the second Marine and said, ” It wasn’t like that in the old Corps.”

An annual post.

21 May 2019

Navy Changing Pilot Call Sign Protocol After Minority Aviators Report Bias

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CNN reports that the Navy is responding with new rules and “diversity and inclusion” counseling after two minority pilots who had been dropped from fighter training for inferior performance complained of Pilot Sign Protocol Bias.

The head of naval aviation has directed the creation of a new process for approving and reviewing pilots’ call signs after two African-American aviators at an F/A-18 Hornet training squadron in Virginia filed complaints alleging racial bias in the unit, from which they said they were unfairly dismissed.

In a formal endorsement letter signed May 13, Vice Adm. DeWolfe Miller, commander of Naval Air Forces, said he found the two aviators, a Navy lieutenant and a Marine Corps captain, were correctly removed from Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 106 out of Naval Air Station Oceana due to “substandard performance,” despite errors and inconsistencies discovered in the grading and ranking process.

However, Miller said he did find inappropriate conduct by instructor pilots who did not treat the pilots-in-training “with appropriate dignity and respect,” using discriminatory call signs and having inappropriate and unprofessional discussions about them on social media.

He directed the Chief of Naval Air Training to have all training command and fleet replacement squadrons in the Navy formalize a call sign assignment and review process within 90 days, including appropriate peer board representation for minority and female aviators. And he recommended that multiple officers, including a Navy captain, receive rebukes, counseling or administrative punishment for their role in events substantiated by the investigation.

Miller also ordered that VFA-106 receive training on appropriate use of social media and that the unit bring in a “diversity and inclusion expert” to train the squadron on unconscious bias and stereotype threat. Similar training, he wrote, will also be added to the curriculum for prospective commanding and executive officer courses and commander training symposia.

RTWT

20 Feb 2019

Yesterday Was John Basilone Day

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From Quora:

Gunnery Sergeant Manila John Basilone was the only Marine in WWII to receive both the Medal of Honor and the Navy Cross.

A guy who holds a machine gun in his bare hands killing the enemy all night is pretty bad ass, but he was even more then that.

Guadalcanal was a fierce clash of national wills. Bloodied and humiliated by the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, American armed forces were on the comeback trail less than six months after the debacle. At Guadalcanal, a disease-infested island, two superb military organizations met each other for the first time in land combat — bayonet to bayonet — in a contest only one army could win.

The United States Marines were determined to keep their small foothold of Henderson Field and the Japanese were equally determined to drive them into the sea. During the protracted battle which lasted for six months, the struggle to “own” Henderson Field came to a bloody climax on Sunday night 25, October, 1942.

At Lunga Ridge — about 1,000 yards south of Henderson Field it was raining torrents, creating miserable, bottomless mud — typical Guadalcanal weather. The MARINES manning the main line of defense were exhausted. For two days Japanese human wave assaults had been flung against them. Each time the charging enemy had been driven off — but the weary MARINES knew their tough adversaries weren’t through. The Japanese would gather reinforcements and return.

About midnight, from the gloom of ink-black darkness came hundreds of screaming Japanese troops. Throwing themselves on the flesh-cutting barbed wire, the first of the waves formed human bridges for their comrades to leap across. One of the Marine section leaders facing them was Sergeant “Manila John” Basilone. An experienced machine gunner, Basilone knew his guns would be tested to their mechanical limits. It would be up to him to keep them firing.

During the attack when grenades, small arms and machine guns were ripping the night and exploding human flesh splattered friend and foe, Sergeant Basilone stayed with his malaria-ridden men.

Repeatedly repairing guns and changing barrels in almost total darkness, he ran for ammo or steadied his terrified men who were firing full trigger to keep a sheet of white-hot lead pouring into the ranks of the charging Japanese.

Bodies piled so high in front of his weapons pits they had to be reset so the barrels could fire over the piles of corpses. Not even the famous water-cooled heavy machine guns could stop all the assaults and one section of guns were overrun. Two men killed, three others wounded.

Basilone took one of his guns on his back and raced for the breach in the line. Eight Japanese were surprised and killed. The guns were jammed by mud and water and a few yards away the Japanese were forming for another charge. Frantically stripping mud from the ammo belts men fed them into the guns as Basilone cleared jams and sprayed the fiendish troops rushing at his positions with razor-sharp bayonets and hands full of grenades.

Sometime after 0200 the firing died down. No one relaxed. At 0300 the final remnants of the Sendai Regiments with their officers prepared themselves for a final Banzai charge. The full weight of the fanatical Japanese seemed to fall on Basilone’s men. But he had set up a cross fire which smashed the charge. Dropping to the mud, still screaming Colonel Sendai’s remnants crawled forward trying to reach their tormentors. Depressing the muzzles of his weapons — Basilone destroyed them. Nash Phillips lost a hand fighting next to his Sergeant. He was surprised to see John Basilone appear next to his bed a little while after dawn.

“He was barefooted and his eyes were red as fire. His face was dirty black from gunfire and lack of sleep. His shirt sleeves were rolled up to his shoulders. He had a .45 tucked into the waistband of his trousers. He’d just dropped by to see how I was making out; me and the others in the section. I’ll never forget him. He’ll never be dead in my mind!”

With dawn the battlefield was strewn with dead and wounded Americans and Japanese — but Henderson Field still belonged to the Americans and its ownership would never be seriously challenged again. At least 38 dead Japanese were credited to Sergeant Basilone — many were killed with his Colt .45 at almost arm’s length. Just 26 years old, Manila John Basilone had entered the ranks of the Marine Corps pantheon of heroes — and shortly America would take the big, handsome Marine with jug ears and a smile like a neon sign to their hearts. The legend of a “Fighting Sergeant” was born.

When the battle was over and his squad members interviewed, Sergeant Basilone was credited by his men for his will to fight and ability to inspire them in a night of cold fear none ever forgot.

Within a short time the Japanese evacuated Guadalcanal and prepared to meet other Marine invasions of their strongholds elsewhere in the Pacific. American fighting men had proven they could beat the best of the best, the most experienced troops Japan could throw at them. After Guadalcanal the Japanese high command had a fresh respect for the MARINES. They would be forced to meet time and time again as America pressed across the Pacific toward their homeland.

When he received the nation’s highest decoration, John Basilone replied modestly, “Only part of this medal belongs to me. Pieces of it belong to the boys who are still on Guadalcanal. It was rough as hell down there.” On the 1943 War Bond Tour Sergeant Basilone was to say, “Doing a ‘stateside tour is tougher than fighting Japs.”

When Gunnery Sergeant John Basilone voluntarily returned to the Pacific war it would be on the sands of Iwo Jima 19, February, 1945. At the head of another machine gun squad, he would drive hundreds of frightened raw troops off the beaches toward their assigned objectives. Iwo would be his toughest fight. Barely on the island two hours, he was killed leading his men.

… John Basilone is still remembered in his hometown of Raritan, New Jersey. Every year there’s a Basilone Day celebration and small parade and at the park at the edge of town there’s a life sized bronze statute of him in fatigues with his machine gun in his hand and a plaque telling his story. His family still lives in town.

His Wikipedia entry.

17 Feb 2019

“W.E.B. Griffin” — November 10, 1929 – February 12, 2019

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Obituary:

William E. Butterworth III, the best-selling author, has died. He was 89, and had fought a years-long battle with cancer.

While his body of work includes more than 250 books published under more than a dozen pseudonyms, he is best known as W.E.B. Griffin, the #1 best-selling author of nearly 60 epic novels in seven series, all of which have made The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Publishers Weekly, and other best-seller lists. More than fifty million of the books are in print in more than ten languages, including Hebrew, Chinese, Japanese, and Hungarian.

Mr. Butterworth’s first novel, Comfort Me with Love, was published in 1959. The delivery-and-acceptance check from the publisher paid the hospital bill for the birth of his first son, who two decades ago began editing the Griffin best-sellers and then became co-author of them.

Mr. Butterworth grew up in the suburbs of New York City and Philadelphia. He enlisted in the United States Army in 1946. After basic training, he received counterintelligence training at Fort Holabird, Maryland. He was assigned to the Army of Occupation in Germany, and ultimately to the staff of then-Major General I.D. White, commander of the U.S. Constabulary.

In 1951, Mr. Butterworth was recalled to active duty for the Korean War, interrupting his education at Phillips University, Marburg an der Lahn, Germany. In Korea he earned the Combat Infantry Badge as a combat correspondent and later served as acting X Corps (Group) information officer under Lieutenant General White.

On his release from active duty in 1953, Mr. Butterworth was appointed Chief of the Publications Division of the U.S. Army Signal Aviation Test & Support Activity at Fort Rucker, Alabama.

Mr. Butterworth is a member of the Special Operations Association, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion, the Army Aviation Association, the Armor Association, and the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) Society.

He was the 1991 recipient of the Brigadier General Robert L. Dening Memorial Distinguished Service Award of the U.S. Marine Corps Combat Correspondents Association, and the August 1999 recipient of the Veterans of Foreign Wars News Media Award, presented at the 100th National Convention in Kansas City.

He has been vested into the Order of St. George of the U.S. Armor Association, and the Order of St. Andrew of the U.S. Army Aviation Association, and been awarded Honorary Doctoral degrees by Norwich University, the nation’s first and oldest private military college, and by Troy State University (Ala.). He was the graduation dinner speaker for the class of 1988 at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

He has been awarded honorary membership in the Special Forces Association, the Marine Corps Combat Correspondents Association, the Marine Raiders Association, and the U.S. Army Otter & Caribou Association. In January 2003, he was made a life member of the Police Chiefs Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania, Southern New Jersey, and the State of Delaware.

He was the co-founder of the William E. Colby Seminar on Intelligence, Military, and Diplomatic Affairs.

The W.E.B. Griffin novels, known for their historical accuracy, have been praised by The Philadelphia Inquirer for their “fierce, stop-for-nothing scenes.”

“Nothing honors me more than a serviceman, veteran, or cop telling me he enjoys reading my books,” he said.

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W.E.B. Griffin quotations.

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I really liked his “Brotherhood of War” series, which was so thoroughly grounded in real history that you could describe it as a Roman à clef.

10 Nov 2018

Marine Corps Birthday

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Founded November 10, 1775.

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Maj. Gen. John A. Lejeune’s Birthday Message

RPS ORDERS
No. 47 (Series 1921)
HEADQUARTERS U.S. MARINE CORPS
Washington, November 1, 1921

759. The following will be read to the command on the 10th of November, 1921, and hereafter on the 10th of November of every year. Should the order not be received by the 10th of November, 1921, it will be read upon receipt.

(1) On November 10, 1775, a Corps of Marines was created by a resolution of Continental Congress. Since that date many thousand men have borne the name “Marine”. In memory of them it is fitting that we who are Marines should commemorate the birthday of our corps by calling to mind the glories of its long and illustrious history.

(2) The record of our corps is one which will bear comparison with that of the most famous military organizations in the world’s history. During 90 of the 146 years of its existence the Marine Corps has been in action against the Nation’s foes. From the Battle of Trenton to the Argonne, Marines have won foremost honors in war, and is the long eras of tranquility at home, generation after generation of Marines have grown gray in war in both hemispheres and in every corner of the seven seas, that our country and its citizens might enjoy peace and security.

(3) In every battle and skirmish since the birth of our corps, Marines have acquitted themselves with the greatest distinction, winning new honors on each occasion until the term “Marine” has come to signify all that is highest in military efficiency and soldierly virtue.

(4) This high name of distinction and soldierly repute we who are Marines today have received from those who preceded us in the corps. With it we have also received from them the eternal spirit which has animated our corps from generation to generation and has been the distinguishing mark of the Marines in every age. So long as that spirit continues to flourish Marines will be found equal to every emergency in the future as they have been in the past, and the men of our Nation will regard us as worthy successors to the long line of illustrious men who have served as “Soldiers of the Sea” since the founding of the Corps.

JOHN A. LEJEUNE,
Major General Commandant

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The Magic of “a Few Good Men”

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The Old Corps

Tun Tavern, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, November 10th 1775

Captains Nicholas and Mullens, having been tasked by the 2nd Continental Congress to form 2 battalions of Marines, set up the Corps’ first recruiting station in the tavern.

The first likely prospect was, in typical recruiters fashion, promised a “life of high adventure in service to Country and Corps”. And, as an extra bonus: If he enlisted now he would receive a free tankard of ale….

The recruit gladly accepted the challenge and, receiving the free tankard of ale, was told to wait at the corner table for orders.

The first Marine sat quietly at the table sipping the ale when he was joined by another young man, who had two tankards of ale.

The first Marine looked at the lad and asked where he had gotten the two tankards of ale?

The lad replied that he had just joined this new outfit called the Continental Marines, and as an enlistment bonus was given two tankards of ale.

The first Marine took a long hard look at the second Marine and said, ” It wasn’t like that in the old Corps.”

An annual post.

24 Aug 2018

What Marine Corps Boot Camp Can Do

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Before

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After

These photos from Task and Purpose went viral.

07 Aug 2018

This Kind of Crap Happens When Mattis is SecDef?

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LTC Marcus Mainz

Larry Kummer has a Marine Corps story that will boil your blood.

The Army retired West Point Brigade Tactical Officer LTC Hank Kiersey, early in the 2000s, when he took the rap for a subordinate officer using the same kind of pejorative in a similar fashion (David Lipsky, Absolutely American, 2004, pp. 112-113).

Several weeks ago, the United States Marine Corps copied its old Japanese adversary and committed seppuku. It did so by relieving its best battalion commander and most promising future senior combat leader of his command, thus terminating his career. As another Marine lieutenant colonel said to me, “The last light shining in the darkness has been put out.”

The officer relieved of his command was Lieutenant Colonel Marcus Mainz. Some years ago Mainz, as a captain, was one of my students in a Fourth Generation War seminar at the Marine Corps’ Expeditionary Warfare School. He was one of the best – bright, tremendous energy, a powerful personality, and an ability to get results. These are exactly the qualities the Marine Corps needs in its leaders if it is to implement its doctrine of maneuver warfare. Now that doctrine seems to be little more than words on paper.
Mainz, through the innovative training program he implemented in his battalion, had built a substantial and devoted following throughout the Marine Corps. Now many of his admirers are giving up and putting in their paperwork to resign or retire. Their hope is gone. A Marine major said to me, “The second- and third-order effects of his dismissal are massive.”

What led the Marine Corps to devour its young? The answer lies in the moral cowardice the senior Marine Corps leadership (and that of our other armed services) routinely displays in the face of “political correctness,” i.e., cultural Marxism.

Speaking to his Marines, as told to me, Mainz dismissed some of the administrivia that eats up much of their training time, saying something like, “We’re not going to do that faggot stuff.” A Marine understandably objected to his use of the word “faggot,” and a brigadier general ordered him relieved of his command.

Of course it can’t be disputed that this was an unfortunate and inappropriate expression. A proper sanction would have been justified. But to destroy the career of one of the Corps’ best commanders for a lapsus linguae is ridiculous. Should this lapse wipe away all the good accomplished by this highly effective military leader – and all of his potential future accomplishments in a Corps that needs his leadership? And does the Marine Corps really want to put such fear into its best officers that they lose their force and swagger?

Note: The official explanation the Marines have issued for Mainz’s loss of command is that it was due to a “loss of trust and confidence in his ability to continue to lead the battalion.”

Far from being an isolated incident, the relief of this brilliant officer points to the worm that is gnawing away at the Marine Corps’ vitals: preparing for war has become the lowest priority.

RTWT

04 Jul 2018

How to Celebrate the Fourth

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A-4M Skyhawk

Task & Purpose:

Some people celebrate the Fourth of July with beer, barbecue, and fireworks. Others prefer more unconventional forms of celebration — like stealing a $14 million subsonic attack aircraft and taking it out for a spin in the skies above California.

That’s how Marine Lance Cpl. Howard A. Foot Jr. spent America’s birthday on July 4th, 1986, when the then-21-year-old mechanic clambered into the cockpit of an A-4M Skyhawk at El Toro Marine Corps Air Station and took off on the joyride of his life.

Despite never having flown a fighter jet before, Foote managed to pull off a pretty badass flight. ..

This wasn’t a youthful prank, like, say, riding dirty through the streets of Virginia in an M577 Armored Personnel Carrier. Rather, Foote’s airborne antics were a last-ditch effort to, as Los Angeles Times put it, “[fulfill] his lifelong dream of being at the throttle of a fighter jet, albeit a stolen one.”

The previous February, Foote had apparently suffered an aerial embolism during an attempt to set a glider altitude record — and just a few days after he was informed by military doctors that the incident would preclude him from ever sitting behind the throttle of a Marine Corps fighter jet, he absconded with the Skyhawk.

Foote was discharged from the Marine Corps, but all charges against him were dropped. This was likely thanks to his close relationship with retired El Toro chief Gen. William A. Bloomer, a mentor of Foote’s who had encouraged him to participate in the gliding challenge that dashed his dreams.

And while we’re not exactly sure what Foote is up to now, the Los Angeles Times catch-up with him some 15 months after the incident revealed a man eager to get back in the air.

“I’m waiting to hear if the Israeli Air Force will take me,” Foote, then a pilot for a charter airline, told the Los Angeles Times in 1988. “And if that doesn’t work out, I’m going to see if I can fly for Honduras. I’ve heard they recently got some Skyhawks.”

Here’s to you, Foote, for celebrating America’s birthday the way God intended: by fulfilling your dreams, consequences be damned.

RTWT

18 Feb 2018

Marine Corps Lowers Infantry Officer Standards

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Tribunist:

The Marine Corps has made a major change to its Infantry Officer Course. The first big challenge for many was a test of physical fitness. If you passed, you moved on. If you didn’t, you washed out. The test was especially difficult for women who had to meet the same standard as the men. Not anymore.

The Infantry Officer Course now uses the physical fitness test as an exercise, and not a pass/fail requirement.

Officials with Marine Corps Training and Education Command told Military.com “that Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller had made a decision in November to transform the test from a high-stakes hurdle to an assessment from which students can drop without risking their place in the course.”

“[Neller] approved modifications to the IOC [program of instruction] to better tie student evaluation and graduation requirements to published infantry training and readiness manual, military occupational specialty specific performance standards, and operating force requirements,” TECOM officials said in a statement.

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Vox Day blows up:

As Martin van Creveld, the Israeli military historian has noted, the more women enter any professional field, the more men leave it. And as the men depart, so to do the prestige and the economic rewards provided by the field. This creates a vicious cycle that both expels existing men from the field while repelling new men from entering it.

If the universities can be considered a reliable model, we’re about three decades away from a majority female Marine Corps. No wonder China is content to patiently wait for its opportunity. This marks the second step in the end of the USMC’s historical prestige. Even current female Marine officers understand this.

    “Changing this rite of passage will be doing female Marines no favors in trying to be infantry officers,” Marine 2nd Lt. Emma Stokien, a Marine Corps intelligence officer, wrote. “Female Marines often have to work much harder than their peers to earn the same respect, and entering the infantry under the dark cloud of even perceived lowered standards will make this a practically impossible challenge and potentially cause real harm to unit cohesion and the faith between leader and led.”

Permitting women to join the Marine Corps was the first mistake. Unqualified female officers are the second one. But the empire is in decline, and so these events are not even remotely surprising. There will be more unnecessary mistakes in the future and they will be more and more disastrous, until the empire “unexpectedly” crumbles for “no reason at all.”

Why isn’t Mattis doing something about this?

25 Nov 2017

VDH Remembers the Old Breed

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William G. Zincavage, 1945.

At Thanksgiving, Victor Davis Hanson is grateful for our parents’ generation, the generation that won the War, particularly those like my own father who served in the Marine Corps.

Much has been written about the disappearance of these members of the Greatest Generation—there are now over 1,000 veterans passing away per day. Of the 16 million who at one time served in the American military during World War II, only about a half-million are still alive. …

More worrisome, however, is that the collective ethos of the World War II generation is fading. It may not have been fully absorbed by the Baby Boomer generation and has not been fully passed on to today’s young adults, the so-called Millennials. While U.S. soldiers proved heroic and lethal in Afghanistan and Iraq, their sacrifices were never commensurately appreciated by the larger culture.

The generation that came of age in the 1940s had survived the poverty of the Great Depression to win a global war that cost 60 million lives, while participating in the most profound economic and technological transformation in human history as a once rural America metamorphosed into a largely urban and suburban culture of vast wealth and leisure.

Their achievement from 1941 to 1945 remains unprecedented. The United States on the eve of World War II had an army smaller than Portugal’s. It finished the conflict with a global navy larger than all of the fleets of the world put together. By 1945, America had a GDP equal to those of Germany, Japan, the Soviet Union, and the British Empire combined. With a population 50 million people smaller than that of the USSR, the United States fielded a military of roughly the same size.

America almost uniquely fought at once in the Pacific, Asia, the Mediterranean, and Europe, on and beneath the seas, in the skies, and on land. On the eve of the war, America’s military and political leaders, still traumatized by the Great Depression, fought bitterly over modest military appropriations, unsure of whether the country could afford even a single additional aircraft carrier or another small squadron of B-17s. Yet four years later, civilians had built 120 carriers of various types and were producing a B-24 bomber at the rate of one an hour at the Willow Run factory in Michigan. Such vast changes are still difficult to appreciate.

Certainly, what was learned through poverty and mayhem by those Americans born in the 1920s became invaluable in the decades following the war. The World War II cohort was a can-do generation who believed that they did not need to be perfect to be good enough. The strategic and operational disasters of World War II—the calamitous daylight bombing campaign of Europe in 1942-43, the quagmire of the Heurtgen Forest, or being surprised at the Battle of Bulge—hardly demoralized these men and women.

Miscalculations and follies were not blame-gamed or endlessly litigated, but were instead seen as tragic setbacks on the otherwise inevitable trajectory to victory. When we review their postwar technological achievements—from the interstate highway system and California Water Project to the Apollo missions and the Lockheed SR-71 flights—it is difficult to detect comparable confidence and audacity in subsequent generations. To paraphrase Nietzsche, anything that did not kill those of the Old Breed generation made them stronger and more assured.

As an ignorant teenager, I once asked my father whether the war had been worth it. After all, I smugly pointed out, the “victory” had ensured the postwar empowerment and global ascendance of the Soviet Union. My father had been a combat veteran during the war, flying nearly 40 missions over Japan as the central fire control gunner in a B-29. He replied in an instant, “You win the battle in front of you and then just go on to the next.”

I wondered where his assurance came. Fourteen of 16 planes—each holding eleven crewmen—in his initial squadron of bombers were lost to enemy action or mechanical problems. The planes were gargantuan, problem-plagued, and still experimental—and some of them also simply vanished on the 3,000-mile nocturnal flight over the empty Pacific from Tinian to Tokyo and back.

As a college student, I once pressed him about my cousin and his closest male relative, Victor Hanson, a corporal of the Sixth Marine Division who was killed on the last day of the assault on Sugar Loaf Hill on Okinawa. Wasn’t the unimaginative Marine tactic of plowing straight ahead through entrenched and fortified Japanese positions insane? He answered dryly, “Maybe, maybe not. But the enemy was in the way, then Marines took them out, and they were no longer in the way.”

RTWT

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