245Th Birthday of the Marines

Great story about this so important part of our heritage.

An excerpt, from American Greatness.

“On this 245th birthday of my Marine Corps, I am thinking about why this annual November 10 birthday celebration and simply being a Marine are so important to those of us who have worn the eagle, globe, and anchor. Some might say it has much to do with what it takes to become a Marine. Perhaps. But I would argue it has less to do with boot camp or officer candidate school rites of passage—which really have more to do with determining a recruit or candidate’s suitability to be a Marine—and everything to do with post-boot experiences, shared hardships, and an unusual stretch of time in our lives, whether four years or 40, that largely define who we are and will forever be.

“That’s also why the cultural degradation of the Corps since 2008 is so disheartening to Marines, especially for those of us in the ever-prized Infantry military occupational specialties. I won’t get into all of that today except to say it is what it is, and that the reputation as being collectively “a few good men” has always been the lifeblood of the Corps.

“For us, it has never been about big budgets, high-tech toys, and big-ticket items like tanks and ships or even airplanes really (though we have spent quite a lot of our tiny budget on aircraft and pioneering the use of military aviation in support of ground forces over the decades).

“For Marines, it has always been about being part of the most elite combined-arms expeditionary force in the world, being a rifleman, being part of something with enormous tradition, and being all of these things with few resources.

“Someone once said all it takes is a rifle, a bucket, a brush, and a drill field to make a Marine. And there is some truth to that. For as long as there are men with rifles, drill instructors, a place to train, and enemies to fight; there can be Marines. And as long as there are Marines, especially of the Old Corps caliber, there will always be something truly unique within America’s broader military establishment. Not that there aren’t other unique elements within the American military establishment: There are. But none exactly like Marines where culture, reputation, and the legacy of the leatherneck are everything.

“So this morning as I penned these words, I considered my own time in the Corps, and how the most rewarding job I’ve ever had in all my 61 years so far has been that of a U.S. Marine rifle squad leader. Of course, I had other jobs in the Corps, and a few since, but nothing nearly as life-defining: Being a young man and having the responsibility of leading young Marines changed everything for me. I’ve also considered the fact that no matter how many years a Marine spends in the Corps, his experiences in the Corps are, well, remarkably special, and unlike anything else.

“Take, for example, USMC Major General (Ret.) Jim Livingston, recipient of the Medal of Honor. General Livingston’s story is the stuff of legend. He’s a proverbial superman. But then I realized, in many ways, so is every other Marine I’ve known throughout my life who has ever humped a pack and a rifle.

“And I’ve known many, like my close friend and fellow Marine, Colonel (Ret.) Steve Vitali, one of the kindest, gentlest, most unassuming, always-smiling, seemingly regular guys I know. He adores his wife and daughter. Loves his grandson. Takes care of his buddies. Spends frequent quality time with his 92-year-old dad, and he regularly attends church.

“Vitali is also one of the most dangerous combatant leaders on the planet. But who would know? A member of the South Carolina Black Belt Hall of Fame and a veteran commander of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Vitali was on the ground in Afghanistan for several months in 2006 as the ranking U.S. military advisor, and he had been there for less than a week when he was faced with a citywide uprising in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan with a population at the time of more than 3 million people.

“War waits for no one,” said Vitali. “Four days after my arrival and assumption of the 201st Regional Command Advisory Group in Afghanistan, a U.S. military convoy came down a steep street and lost control. Afghan locals were killed which resulted in angry mobs and riots exploding in the streets. There were shootings, burnings, and chaos everywhere; and the Afghan police were forcefully driven out of the capital.”

Retrieved November 10, 2020 from https://amgreatness.com/2020/11/09/come-and-fight-methe-legacy-and-tradition-of-the-marines/

About David H Lukenbill

I am a native of Sacramento, as are my wife and daughter. I am a consultant to nonprofit organizations, and have a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Behavior and a Master of Public Administration degree, both from the University of San Francisco. We live along the American River with two cats and all the wild critters we can feed. I am the founding president of the American River Parkway Preservation Society and currently serve as the CFO and Senior Policy Director. I also volunteer as the President of The Lampstand Foundation, a nonprofit organization I founded in 2003.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.