Here we go again!
The United States Marine Corps will be celebrating its 235th birthday in a few weeks. The birthday of the Corps is a big deal to all Marines, whether active duty, reserve, retired, or former, as in my case. No truer words were ever spoken: “Once a Marine – Always a Marine!” On November 10th each year Marines congregate in small, private groups or in large, boisterous gatherings to lift a glass in honor of the Marine Corps, retelling the glorious acts of heroism that built the lore and legacy of this elite fighting force.
I admit, I am a dyed-in-the-wool Marine. I have a mouse pad for my computer in the church office that reads: “And on the 8th day God created Marines!” It is somewhat irreverent, I suppose, for a “man of the cloth,” I know, but Marines understand the sentiment behind the words.
So, I’m reading through my accumulation of e-mails earlier this week and notice a story that announces that the current administration is taking active steps to eliminate the Marine Corps. What! Not again!
This is hardly the first time the Marine Corps has been placed on the proverbial chopping block. The article I read is, “Send Away the Marines?” from September 14, The Washington Post. The subtitle for the article says, “Force review could leave the Corps high and dry.”
This is hardly the first time the Marine Corps has faced the challenge for its own existence. When Congress historically mismanages the funds entrusted by “We the People,” these elected officials panic and look for places they can either grab more money (like Social Security!), or cut funded budget projects, such as the Defense Department. At the end of WWI, WWII, and Vietnam, the Defense Department was seriously cut back to the degree that when a new threat loomed on the horizon, we were not militarily prepared to take it on. A military force, by any definition, is costly. In today’s tenuous atmosphere of eggshell-walking amongst nations, the threat of war and nuclear attack is all too real.
The assumption that is made regarding a force like the Marine Corps is that with all the advances in modern warfare and the technological intricacies required, a knuckle-dragging, gun-toting, combat force is probably no longer a requirement on the battlefields of the 21st Century. This mistake has been made before. As long as nations find it necessary to engage in war, you will always need those who kick in doors and do the dirty work required to subdue a recalcitrant enemy. There’s nothing quite like looking into the business end of a fully-loaded M16 gun barrel to convince the enemy that resistance is futile. Saddam Hussein learned that lesson up close and personal!
An LA Times article last month spurred this story into the news, causing a renewed battle between left and right-leaning ideologues over the questionable future of the Marine Corps. “Defense Secretary Gates is ordering a review of the future role of the Marine Corps amid ‘anxiety’ the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan had turned the service into a ‘second land army,’” so said the LA Times.
Different national leaders in the past, both political and military, have made serious efforts to have the Marine Corps eliminated. Most of the time these efforts were made by the heads of other service branches, who were jealous, threatened or both, by the mere presence of the Marine Corps. Let me be very clear on this point: No other branch of our military service can do what the Marines do.
There is a humorous bumper sticker about the Marines that is also very true: “When it absolutely, positively must be destroyed overnight: U.S. Marines” says it all. Why? Because the Marines are trained to be quick responders. When the call comes in to saddle up and ship out, Marines do it in a matter of hours. They want to go! They like it! This is what they train endless hours for. The other branches take days, if not weeks to respond with a force ready to engage the enemy.
Another reason we need a Marine Corps: Our enemies are terrified of having to fight Marines. This is not an exaggeration. There are plenty of documented remarks by former enemy leaders who have attested to this truth. Marines get it done, and they do it better than anyone else.
And the final reason we need the Marine Corps? The dress blue uniform! They are the best ever – no argument. Oorah!
God bless the United States of America! And God bless the Marine Corps!
Why not contact your Congressmen and let them know what you think about the Marine Corps?