Why America needs the Marine Corps
Perhaps he was trying to get my goat, but it occurred to me that he really might not know. Besides, what a topic for a commentary.
The Marine Corps is our nation’s “Total Force in Readiness.” From the land, sea or air, the mission of the corps is to prosecute forcible entry operations quickly and successfully anywhere on the globe, to project and sustain American power in the littoral regions of the world, and finally, to shape the combat environment during conflict.
Marines everywhere can take pride in their contributions to our great nation. The corps was born of an act of Congress and consecrated in sacrifice. It is steeped in tradition and tested in battle where heroic actions are the hallmark of Marine legacy.
But perhaps a better way of understanding why we have a Marine Corps is to let you read what non-Marines have said about the corps:
“The deadliest weapon in the world is a Marine and his rifle!” Gen. John Pershing, U.S. Army.
“The more Marines I have around, the better I like it!” Gen. Mark Clark, U.S. Army.
“I can never again see a United States Marine without experiencing a feeling of reverence.” Gen. C. Johnson, U.S. Army.
“The raising of that flag on Suribachi means a Marine Corps for the next 500 years.” James Forestall, secretary of the Navy.
“I have just returned from visiting the Marines at the front, and there is no a finer fighting organization in the world!” Gen.Douglas McArthur, U.S. Army.
“Teufelhunde! (Devil Dogs).” German soldiers, at Belleau Wood in World War I.
“Panic sweeps my men when they are facing the American Marines.” Major Le Kyong, captured major in the North Korean army.
“The safest place in Korea was right behind a platoon of Marines. Lord how they could fight!” Major Gen. Frank Lowe, U.S. Army.
“Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference. The Marines don’t have that problem.” President Ronald Reagan, 1985.
“Marines I see as two breeds, Rottweilers or Dobermans, because Marines come in two varieties, big and mean, or skinny and mean. They’re aggressive on the attack and tenacious on defense. They’ve got really short hair and they always go for the throat.” Rear Admiral “Jay” R. Stark, USN; 10 November 1995.
“Marines are about the most peculiar breed of human beings I have ever witnessed. They treat their service as if it were some kind of cult, plastering their emblem on almost everything they own, making themselves up to look like insane fanatics with haircuts ungentlemanly short, worshipping their commandant almost as it he were a god, and making weird animal noises like a band of savages. They will fight like rabid dogs at the drop of a hat S but, their high spirits and sense of brotherhood set them apart and generally speaking the United States Marines I have come in contact with are the most professional soldiers and the finest men I have had the pleasure to meet.” Anonymous Canadian citizen, 1969.
“The corps S has never lost sight that its primary mission is to fight, remains superbly trained and disciplined. … The law of nature is simple: survival of the fittest. And in the 21st century S the forward-based and highly deployable U.S. Marine Corps is the fittest.” Col. David Hackworth, the most decorated Army officer during the Vietnam War.
If these comments weren’t reason enough to understand the necessity of the Marine Corps, I suggest going beyond the scope of the corps being a superior fighting force in readiness and viewing this notion from a different perspective.
America needs the Marine Corps with its standards of courage in combat, traditions of excellence, and unbending code of honor for its own sense of well-being.
In times of national crisis Americans expect just two things from the Marine Corps: 1) to protect and project America’s interests on a moment’s notice, and 2) to defeat any enemy it engages on the battlefield. And to that end, The corps has never let America down!
Recall those heart-rending moments immediately after the Twin Towers were struck 14 months ago and how we felt. We had been violated, we were vulnerable, and for days we were on emotional quicksand. With that in mind, try to imagine how it might affect our national psyche if just once the Marines failed to protect our national interests or did not defeat an enemy – it’s almost unimaginable.
Brave and competent men and women populate all the armed forces – and the Marine Corps doesn’t have a monopoly on toughness or professionalism.
But the corps is part of the fabric of American legend, and on this, its 227th birthday, let me say to those who fought carried our flag and our spirit to Tripoli, Belleau Wood, Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, the Chosin Reservoir, Khe Sahn, Hue, Grenada, Kuwait, Iraq, and Afghanistan S Oooh Rah! and Semper Fi Brothers!
Butch Mazzuca of Singletree can be reached at email@example.com