Monday, November 10, 2008

Happy Birthday, Marines

Hale and Hearty at 233

Every year on November 10, current and former Marines gather and celebrate the Corps. Among the customs are the reading of messages posted by the current Commandant each year, and General John A. Lejeune's 1921 birthday message. Take it away, General Lejeune:

On November 10, 1775, a Corps of Marines was created by a resolution of the 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.

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 it's existence the Marine Corps has been in action against the nations foes. From the battle of Trenton to the Argonne. Marines have won foremost honors in war, and in 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.

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.

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 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.


This year the address was given by General James T. Conway, 34th Commandant of the Marine Corps. My apologies for the block caps; I pulled this off the CMC website, ALMAR 042/08:

DURING THE SUMMER OF 1982, IN THE WAKE OF A PRESIDENTIAL DIRECTIVE, MARINES WENT ASHORE AT BEIRUT, LEBANON. FIFTEEN MONTHS LATER, ON 23 OCTOBER 1983, EXTREMISTS STRUCK THE FIRST MAJOR BLOW AGAINST AMERICAN FORCES - STARTING THIS LONG WAR ON TERRORISM. ON THAT SUNDAY MORNING, A SUICIDE BOMBER DROVE AN EXPLOSIVE-LADEN TRUCK INTO THE HEADQUARTERS OF BATTALION LANDING TEAM 1/8, DESTROYING THE BUILDING AND KILLING 241 MARINES AND CORPSMEN.

EXTREMISTS HAVE ATTACKED OUR NATION, AT HOME AND ABROAD,
NUMEROUS TIMES SINCE THAT FATEFUL DAY IN BEIRUT. THEIR AIM HAS
ALWAYS BEEN THE SAME - TO KILL AS MANY INNOCENT AMERICANS AS
POSSIBLE. THE ATTACKS OF 11 SEPTEMBER 2001 CHANGED OUR NATION
FOREVER, AND OUR PRESIDENT HAS RESOLVED THAT THIS NATION WILL NOT
STAND IDLE WHILE MURDEROUS TERRORISTS PLOT THEIR NEXT STRIKE.
MARINES WILL CONTINUE TO TAKE THE FIGHT TO THE ENEMY - HITTING THEM
ON THEIR OWN TURF, CRUSHING THEM WHEN THEY SHOW THEMSELVES, AND
FINDING THEM WHERE THEY HIDE.

ONLY A FEW AMERICANS CHOOSE THE DANGEROUS, BUT NECESSARY, WORK
OF FIGHTING OUR NATION'S ENEMIES. WHEN OUR CHAPTER OF HISTORY IS
WRITTEN, IT WILL BE A SAGA OF A SELFLESS GENERATION OF MARINES WHO
WERE WILLING TO STAND UP AND FIGHT FOR OUR NATION; TO DEFEND THOSE
WHO COULD NOT DEFEND THEMSELVES; TO THRIVE ON THE HARDSHIP AND
SACRIFICE EXPECTED OF AN ELITE WARRIOR CLASS; TO MARCH TO THE SOUND
OF THE GUNS; AND TO ABLY SHOULDER THE LEGACY OF THOSE MARINES WHO
HAVE GONE BEFORE.

ON OUR 233RD BIRTHDAY, FIRST REMEMBER THOSE WHO HAVE SERVED AND
THOSE "ANGELS" WHO HAVE FALLEN - OUR REPUTATION WAS BUILT ON THEIR
SACRIFICES. REMEMBER OUR FAMILIES; THEY ARE THE UNSUNG HEROES WHOSE
SUPPORT AND DEDICATION ALLOW US TO ANSWER OUR NATION'S CALL.
FINALLY, TO ALL MARINES AND SAILORS, KNOW THAT I AM PROUD OF YOU AND
WHAT YOU DO. YOUR SUCCESSES ON THE BATTLEFIELD HAVE ONLY ADDED TO
OUR ILLUSTRIOUS HISTORY. GENERAL VICTOR H. "BRUTE" KRULAK SAID IT
BEST WHEN HE WROTE, "... THE UNITED STATES DOES NOT NEED A MARINE
CORPS ... THE UNITED STATES WANTS A MARINE CORPS." YOUR ACTIONS, IN
IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN, AND ACROSS THE GLOBE, ARE AT THE CORE OF WHY
AMERICA LOVES HER MARINES.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MARINES AND SEMPER FIDELIS!

JAMES T. CONWAY,

GENERAL, U.S. MARINE CORPS,

COMMANDANT OF THE MARINE CORPS


Happy Birthday, my brothers.

233 Reasons to Love the Corps (slightly revised from the Marine Corps Times edition:

1. Cpl. Jason Dunham. First Marine to receive the Medal of Honor since Vietnam. If jumping on a grenade to save a buddy isn’t worth the top of the list, nothing is.

2. Civilians have to find time to go to the gym. Marines get paid to go.

3. The National Museum of the Marine Corps. It’s like a Smithsonian of Leatherneck.

4. There’s no such thing as an “ex” Marine. (Except Jack Murtha, D-PA -R.)
5. Re-enlistment rates are higher IN the war zone.

6. Stink-proof socks. Well, almost. Systems Command is working on them.

7. JalapeƱo cheese.

8. “Every Marine Into the Fight.”

9. Lump-sum re-enlistment bonuses up to $80,000. Many of you would consider doing it for free.

10. New uniforms #1. Pixel-pattern cammies? Yeah, the Corps came up with that.

11. “Doc.”

12. Flexed arm hang is harder than it looks. I tried it.

13. Barracks parties on non-payday weekends.

14. Marine Gunners.

15. The Wounded Warrior Regiment.

16. MarAdmin 266/07: Letting 18-year-old Marines drink on base at the Birthday Ball…

17. No receipt necessary for travel claim expenses less than $75.

18. The Lance Corporal underground.

19. Fallujah II.

21. Archibald Henderson’s couch, re-upholstered, is still in the Commandant’s living room.

22. “No better friend, no worse enemy.”

23. Typhoons approaching Okinawa often spark islandwide beer runs.

24. Waivers.

25. Gen. James Jones, who followed his tour as Commandant with appointment as “supreme intergalactic overlord” (OK, it was Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, but close).

26. 10 rounds from the 500-yard line, 50 points.

27. Per diem.

28. To civilians, every Marine is recon.

29. Recruiting in Texas is like hunting at the zoo.

30. The “boat cloak.” Because every super hero needs a cape.

31. Bags of shoreline, boxes of grid squares, ceiling buffers, and asbestos suits for the battalion flame thrower operator. Ya gotta love “boots”.

32. The wallet in your sock.

33. Motivating television commercials.

34. The “horseshoe” haircut, gone but not forgotten.

35. Major Gene Duncan and Capt. Tom Moore and their collections of Sea Stories.

36. Running cadences that mention napalm and Eskimos no-no parts.

37. Stories that begin with, “So there I was …” and “Now this ain’t no shit…”

38. Modified parade rest.

39. The transformation. Who you are when you join is not nearly as important as who you become.

40. Lt. Gen. Jim Mattis getting a fourth star.

41. If you’ve been on liberty in Twentynine Palms, you’ve been on liberty in Yuma and Barstow, too.

42. Grooming standards. Not only can you not act like a thug, you cannot look like a thug.

43. It’s not the Army.

44. Women in Manhattan have all seen the Fleet Week episode of “Sex and the City.”

45. Combat shotguns.

46. Combat Action Ribbons. IEDs count now, and should have counted all along. Duh.

47. The occasional free beer. Wear your blues into a bar and see what happens.

48. Sand fleas, the DI’s discipline bugs.

49. The Corps’ doesn’t call its officers, commissioned or not, “petty.”

50. Cpl. Gareth Hawkins, lying on a stretcher after an IED shattered his leg, demanded re-enlistment before medical evacuation. And got it.

51. Whereas Army, Navy and Air Force jokes are funny, Marine jokes are potentially dangerous.

52. The occasional friendly debate. Refer to a Marine staff NCO simply as “Sergeant,” and see what happens.

53. That troublesome “10 percent,” making good Marines look great since 1775.

54. Everyone at a high school reunion is obliged to justify his last 10 years, except the guy wearing alphas.

55. As if ranks that include the words “Master” and “Gunnery” aren’t intimidating enough on their own, the Corps uses them both. At once.

56. Soldiers have Hooah Bars. Marines have Ka-Bars. The second will generally get you the first.

57. The dress code. You can wear your cammies to meet the Commandant or repair a tank.

58. From “Aliens” to “Doom,” the future vision of warfare almost always includes Space Marines.

59. The Corps was formed in a bar.

60. Marines predicted the WWII campaigns in the Pacific years earlier and prepared for the inevitable. So when a Marine says, “Hey, I’ve been thinking…” perhaps you should take notes.

61. Give a Marine some free time, and he’ll rip down your dictator’s statue.

62. If it ain’t raining, we ain’t training.

64. Duty station garden spots: Jacksonville, N.C.; Yuma, Ariz.; Bridgeport, Calif.; Twentynine Palms, Calif., Diego Garcia. (Yes, we’re kidding.)

65. Making morning PT on time. And the bastard in front of you whose sweat smells like tequila. Or is that your sweat? Either way you’ll make the run.

66. Recruiters who promise everything EXCEPT a rose garden.

67. Mustangs #1. It’s easier to take crap from a CO who went to boot camp.

69. Gen. Peter Pace, the first Marine Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. He left his four-star insignia with his fallen comrades at the Vietnam Wall when he retired. Classy move.

70. The people zapper. Using microwave energy to disperse a crowd sounds like fun. Semper fry, Gunny.

71. Nothing says “Good morning” like a mouthful of Copenhagen and freeze-dried coffee.

72. Nothing says “I love you” like a welcome home sheet hanging on a chain-link fence.

73. Bill Barnes. In June 2007, the former Marine beat the crap out of a 27-year-old pickpocket who tried to make off with his dough. Oh yeah, he’s 72.

74. The Seabag Drag.

75. EOD. If you don’t know why this is on the list , defuse the next IED yourself.

76. Tax-free combat pay. Doing what you signed up for and not having to give Uncle Sam a dime back.

77. Making it to the top of Mount Motherfucker.

78. Front toward enemy. It’s not just a visual reference on a Claymore mine, it’s a Marine Corps way of life.

79. Mustangs #2. You know at least three Marines who drive them. It’s like a Ford dealership exploded on base.

80. Fred Smith, founder of FedEx. Only a former Marine could truly appreciate the value of getting your mail on time.

81. Alternate Fighting Position. Army definition; a position to fall back to when faced with an overwhelming enemy attack. Marine definition; the rear wall of your fighting hole.

82. Spit shining boots. OK, so that’s Old Corps I know, but damn, nothing says “Marine” like a pair of black cadillacs you can stare up a skirt with.

83. “Did you go to boot camp or San Diego?”

84. The Crucible.

85. 1/9, 2/9 and 3/9. Welcome back, fellas.

86. Old Salts.

88. The Old Corps, when the ships were made of wood and the men were made of steel. Coincidently it ended the day before your boot ass first stepped off the bus and onto the grinder.

89. MRAPs. Trucks straight out of Mad Max. We still love a good Humvee, but we loved jeeps, too. Things change.

90. Arty guys who do civil affairs. They blow it up, then they fix it. Circle of life.

91. Service Charlies. They look so good, the Navy’s copying ’em.

92. Fake Marines. No one eats ’em up faster than real Marines.

93. John Lovell. A 71-year-old former Marine is sitting in a Subway restaurant when two armed men try to rob the place. Lovell grabs his .45, kills one and wounds the other. No word on how Lovell’s sandwich fared.

94. 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines. Six Navy Crosses so far. Six.

95. Staff Sgt. Lawrence Dean II, aka the “BadAss Marine.” He recites a poem. He gets uploaded to YouTube. Thousands get motivated.

96. Gen. James Conway takes over as the new commandant . Among his demands: a new PT uniform, new tattoo regs, a plan to add dress blues to the seabag, a change-up in medals and 22,000 more Marines. Someone’s been thinking about taking over for a while, huh?

97. The Marlboro Marine.

98. Former active duty Marines Being allowed to wear the uniform one more time at the Birthday Ball.

99. The Stumps. The Rock. The Sandbox. Oh, the places you’ll serve.

101. Tattoos #2. Getting a fallen friend’s name tattooed on your other forearm, and knowing the same will be done for you.

102. Mess Nights.

103. Marine Expeditionary Units: MedFloats ad WESTPAC’s. The cheapest cruises you’ll ever take.

104. Camp Lejeune: The closest interstate and the nearest good shopping mall are both at least an hour away. But the Driftwood Lounge is within crawling distance from the main gate.

105. Camp Pendleton: There are roads and malls, but try affording a house near the main gate.

106. Tattoos #3. Meat tags. Getting your blood type and other info inked on your ribcage isn’t necessarily a bad idea.

107. Brown baggers.

109. 30 days’ paid vacation, plus federal holidays off, is obscene by civilian standards.

110. Maj. Gen. Marion E. Carl, the Corps’ first fighter ace. First Marine to fly a helicopter. Two Navy Crosses, five Distinguished Flying Crosses, 14 Air Medals. In 1998, the 82-year-old was killed during a home break-in when he jumped in front of a shotgun blast aimed at his longtime wife, Edna.

111. Marine weddings and the brides “welcome” to the Corps, courtesy of a Marine saber across her ass.

113. Guaranteed pay raises.

114. Marine Security Guard #1. Duty in the Bahamas.

115. Having a WWII Marine say he’s proud of you.

116. Drew Carey used to be in the Marine Corps Reserve. Now, he’s the host of “The Price is Right.”

117. Combatant diver pins. No more of that Navy crap.

118. A Red Stripe is a beer, mon. A Blood Stripe is a symbol of pride.

119. “Most people go through their whole lives wondering if they made a difference. Marines don’t have that problem.” - Ronald Reagan.

120. You watched “300,” and it reminded you of your unit.

121. The “Det One” .45 pistol. Designed by Marines, for Marines.

122. Combat marksmanship. You are creeping death. And you get graded on it.

123. Never lost six nukes on a plane.

124. CamelBaks. Water tastes like water again.

125. Grudge fucks. If you don’t know, don’t ask, trust me.

126. Go to YouTube. Type in “bored Marines.” Enjoy.

127. When the President gets on a helicopter, it’s not called “Army One.”

128. The opposite of the Peace Corps.

129. Camouflage. You can camouflage anything and make it cool.

130. No Fear #1. Marines aren’t scared of anything. Except gunny’s.

131. Combat optics on M16s. Leave the iron sights, just in case.

132. “Combat loss” amnesty for missing gear. It’s like pleading the fifth.

133. Riding a chartered Continental Airlines flight home from the war zone with assault weapons stuffed in all the overhead compartments.

134. In combat, the division band becomes a heavy-machine-gun platoon.

135. What do headaches, broken bones, infectious diseases, missing limbs and hurt feelings all have in common? Motrin. Thanks, Doc.

137. Global instability equals job security.

138. “The Marines I have seen around the world have the cleanest bodies, the filthiest minds, the highest morale, and the lowest morals of any group of animals I have ever seen. Thank God for the United States Marine Corps!” - Eleanor Roosevelt. And she didn’t like us much either.

139. Bayonets. Marines are still issued them. And they still use them.

140. Gunnery Sergeants. Don’t know the answer? Ask the gunny. Need something? Ask the gunny. In trouble? Avoid the gunny.

141. Because Gunny said so.

142. The line to get “tazed” at a military gear expo. Marines will do anything for a free T-shirt.

143. Deployment reunions. Like reliving your wedding night. Sweet!

144. Gig lines. Even in khakis and a polo shirt.

145. Eight-point covers. Even the uniform stands at attention.

146. Marine Security Guards #2. They’re not cute and cuddly, but when they greet you at the hatch, it’s like getting a great big hug from the United States of America, no matter where you are.

147. The Mameluke sword. Distinctive.

148. The NCO sword. Earned, never given.

149. The World Famous Mud Run. Thousands of people pay good money to run through 10 clicks of muck every year at Camp Pendleton.

150. John Philip Sousa. A Marine, the nation’s March King and composer of “The Stars and Stripes Forever.” Ooh-rah.

151. MRE crackers. Hard as Milk Bones but much tastier. You can almost feel your teeth getting cleaner as you eat ’em. And they have 140 holes in them. Don’t ask me why I know, just don’t.

152. Jane Wayne Day. She’ll never ask about work again.

153. Shirt stays. Or garters. Whatever you call them, they’re a triple whammy, keeping your shirt tucked, your socks up and removing all that unwanted leg hair.

154. The slogans: “The Few, The Proud, The Marines.” “We’re Looking For a Few Good Men,” “Once a Marine, always a Marine,” “Tell that to the Marines.” If they could only purchase the rights to Hallmark’s “When You Care Enough to Send the Very Best.”

155. Bulkheads. Those lovely vertical structures that keep you from meeting the deck when you are “counseled” by the gunny.

157. Real duty station garden spots you can go an entire career without being assigned to: Southern California; Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii ; Okinawa, Japan.

158. Rear-party Marines. God bless them. Whatever reason they stay behind; injury, impending retirement or being volun-told, they are indispensable. They deserve medals for what they have to deal with while a unit is deployed.

159. While field-grade officers are at the company office, company-grade officers are in the field.

160. Colonels who can take a joke.

161. Free flu shots. And smallpox shots and anthrax shots …

162. Former Sgt. Chris Everhart. While camping with his three sons in June 2007, a bear snatched their cooler and made a play for his 6-year-old. Everhart threw an 18-inch log at the bear’s head, cracking its skull before it could attack and killing it instantly. Then, the park ranger gave him a ticket for leaving the cooler where the bear could get it.

163. Standards. The Corps doesn’t lower the bar when recruiting gets tough.

164. Jim Nabors. “Gomer Pyle” becomes an honorary Marine in 2001 and makes Lance Corporal. It takes him six years to pin on corporal. Talk about art imitating life.

165. Vincent D’Onofrio. The other “Private Pyle” is doing pretty well on “Law and Order: Criminal Intent.” He’s still weird, though.

166. If you ambush Capt. Brian Chontosh’s boys, he’s going to take off his Navy Cross and kill you with it. Then, he’s going to pick up your rifle and kill your buddies. Then, he’s going to pick up your buddy’s rifle and kill your buddy’s buddies. Then, he’s going to pick up a rocket-propelled grenade launcher …

167. Speaking of the Navy Cross, a combat award second only to the Medal of Honor, as of November 10th 2007, Marines have earned 15 in Iraq, plus one in Afghanistan. Of the six awarded to sailors for those combat zones, five went to SEALs, and one went to a corpsman who exposed himself repeatedly to enemy fire to evacuate and treat wounded Marines. Along with Chontosh, the other recipients include:

168. Gunnery Sgt. Justin D. Lehew.

169. Lance Cpl. Joseph B. Perez.

170. Sgt. Scott C. Montoya.

171. Cpl. Marco A. Martinez.

172. Sgt. Willie L. Copeland.

173. Capt. Brent Morel (posthumous).

174. Sgt. Anthony L. Viggiani.

175. 1st Sgt. Bradley A. Kasal.

176. Cpl. Robert J. Mitchell.

177. Cpl. Dominic Esquibel.

178. Sgt. Jarrett A. Kraft.

179. Cpl. Jeremiah W. Workman.

180. Cpl. Todd Corbin.

181. Sgt. Aubrey L. McDade Jr.

182. Pfc. Christopher Adlesperger (posthumous).

183. Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Louis E. Fonseca.

184. Iwo Jima. Japan might have changed the name to Iwo To, but that doesn’t mean you have to acknowledge it.

185. Col. John Ripley. Received the Navy Cross for the destruction of the Dong Ha bridge in Vietnam. The Corps takes care of its own. In 2002, with Ripley near death, doctors finally found a donated liver for his much-needed transplant. So the Marine Corps sent helicopters and Marines to Philadelphia to retrieve it, and they personally rushed it back to Washington in time to save his life.

186. The amnesty box.

188. Gatorade bottle spit cups wrapped in green, 100 mph tape so as not to offend the sailors in the room.

189. Camaraderie. Marines will hook you up with their sisters, then punch you in the mouth for doing what they knew would happen the whole time.

190. Ingenuity. MRE bombs, 101 uses for cleaning rods and iPods wired into field radio speakers.

191. Getting off the ship.

192. Getting back on the ship.

193. No beach? No problem. Marines inserted 400 miles into landlocked Afghanistan and created Camp Rhino using CH-53 Sea Stallions. Imagine what you can invade with the Osprey.

194. Cases and cases of bottled water mean never having to stand behind a water bull.

195. Race as a non issue. The Corps has only one color: green.

196. Every day in the Corps is another reason to celebrate. That’s why they call them working “parties.”

197. Riddick Bowe had what it took to be boxing’s undisputed heavyweight champ. He did not have what it took to be a Marine. (I joined a few months after Bowe ran screaming and crying home like a little bitch. The drill instructors never tired of telling that little tale. -R)

198. The U.S. Army Band is called “Pershing’s Own.” The U.S. Marine Corps Band is called “The President’s Own.”

199. “8th and I.” Ten bucks says you have no idea where the Army chief of staff lives. Commandants don’t hide.

200. MRE “rat boxes.” How grunts trick-or-treat.

201. The poncho liner. It’s a blanket, it’s a tent, it’s a keeper.

202. Combat fit-reps. People say they’re equal to regular fit-reps. People lie.

203. The “E-tool lean.” Sailors don’t know how good they have it.

204. Navy Lt. Vincent Capodanno, Medal of Honor recipient. If Marines have a hot line to heaven, Father Capodanno — aka the Grunt Padre — would take the call. His body peppered by shrapnel, his right hand nearly severed, the Navy chaplain and priest crisscrossed a Vietnam battlefield Sept. 4, 1967, to render last rites to his fallen Marines and corpsmen with 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, until 27 rounds from an enemy machine gun took his life. Last year, the Vatican declared him a “servant of God.” Next step, sainthood?

206. Amphibious warfare means always being near the beach.

207. No Fear #2. Talk about the AV-8B Harrier’s troubled past all you like, but brave jump jet pilots are flying missions in Iraq.

208. Marine Corps marksmanship. At 200 yards we’re just getting started.

209. Marine air-ground task force. Nothing like controlling the air and the ground.

210. Slapping an Eagle, Globe and Anchor on the back of your car and knowing it’ll get you out of at least one speeding ticket.

211. The Navy wants to put Marines back on warships. It seems that Tomahawk cruise missiles can’t do everything.

212. Liberty in Thailand.

213. Liberty in Australia.

214. Liberty, well, anywhere.

215. The Navy’s mascot is a goat. The Corps’ mascot is a bulldog. You don’t need Michael Vick to tell you who wins that fight. And our mascots have real ranks and service jackets, and colorful names like “Chesty”, “Hummer”, “Klinker”, and “Baron”. Oh, and “Bitch”. She kept getting Article 13′d for biting squids.

216. If you need another occupying land force, you can use the Marine Corps. If you need another rapidly deployable, sea-based, front-door-kicking, air-ground team, you can’t use the Army.

217. Drill Instructors, Drill Instructors, Drill Instructors, and Drill Instructors. And the fucking yellow foot prints.

218. “It’s fun to shoot some people,” said Lt. Gen. Jim Mattis. He says what he thinks.

219. The Beirut Memorial Wall. If you ever forget what you’re fighting for, pay a visit.

221. “Son, we live in a world that has walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Who’s gonna do it? You? You, Lieutenant Weinburg?

I have a greater responsibility than you could possibly fathom. You weep for Santiago, and you curse the Marines. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know. That Santiago’s death, while tragic, probably saved lives. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives. You don’t want the truth because deep down, in places you don’t talk about at parties, you want me on that wall. You need me on that wall. We use words like honor, code, loyalty. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something. You use them as a punch line. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just said thank you, and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon and stand a post. Either way, I don’t give a damn what you think you are entitled to.” Jack Nicholson, “A Few Good Men.”

222. Every Marine a Rifleman.

223. Sgt. Rafael Peralta. Like Dunham, he hugged a grenade to save his buddies in Iraq. Navy Cross.

224. Hearing an accidental discharge into the clearing barrel, then waiting for the Lieutenant to walk inside.

225. Call signs like “Spider” and “Assassin,” and these guys were Generals.

227. Buttered noodles for breakfast.

228. “Every Marine should look like a Marine. But a Marine looks like a Marine when he’s got a bayonet stuck in the enemy’s chest.” Gen. Robert Magnus, assistant Commandant.

229. “Infantry” is the easiest job for recruiters to sell.

230. Being the youngest Marine at the ball.

231. Being the oldest Marine at the ball.

232. Chesty Puller. When showed a flame thrower for the first time he asked “Where do you put the bayonet on that sunuvabitch!”. We miss you Chesty.

233. The title United States Marine. It can not be inherited nor can it ever be purchased. Neither you nor anyone alive can buy it for any price. It is impossible to rent and it can not be lent. You alone and our own have earned it with your sweat, blood, and lives.

You own it forever.



2 comments:

bulletholes said...

this is great!
From my post today...
"I started to give a special salute to Citizen H and Dave Mows Grass, my two buddies that have served. After posting this, I went to check out the Citizen, and found a most excellent list of 233 reasons to love Marines and the Corps, and two speeches Citizen holds dear.
Go check it out...it will enlighten, amuse, disturb and uplift you, I guarantee!"

All hail, Citizen!

Bellaforte said...

This made me laugh until it hurt, and get choked up at the same time.

Thanks.