Friday, November 10, 2006
A Tribute to the Corps
Happy Birthday to the United States Marine Corps. In my years in the military my impression of every Marine I have ever met is that he or she is a consummate professional. Marines are the backbone of the US Military.
In my 24 years in the Army National Guard, the most professional military service members I have met are generally in the United States Marine Corps. So on this, the 231st birthday of the Corps I wanted to wish them a happy birthday.
When I joined the military many moons ago, I never gave consideration to joining the Marines. I didn't think I had the mettle for it. And after I met a few, I think I was right.
A good friend of mine is an officer in the Corps. He typifies the Corps mentality. Confidence, strength, and the expectation that personal failure is not an option.
I've never met an overweight member of the Corps. I wish I could say that about my fellow soldiers. I don't know, but Marines probably almost never fail their Physical Fitness tests. I've seen more than a few members of the Army that had a hard time doing 40 pushups in 2 minutes, 40 situps in 2 minutes, and run two miles in 17 minutes.
Marines consistently exhibit a great knowledge of military history, rank structures of all branches of the service, and the like. The average member of the Army doesn't know about these things, nor is he or she expected to.
While in Iraq, I served with members of the Second Marine Division. I got to know foot patrollers mounted patrollers, artillerymen, IED hunters, and convoy security members. They excelled at their jobs. They knew they were good at their jobs, but it didn't dampen their show of respect to the members of other branches of the military.
Marines in Iraq share a disproportionate amount of the burden. I expect it has been that way in most wars America has fought. Marines are expected to--and do--do the dirty work more often, and as a result their numbers of casualties are much higher than their proportion of the total US service members in Iraq. Marines spend more of their time in Iraq as well, rotating home for relatively short periods of time and then heading quickly back to the sandbox again.
So on the 231st birthday of the Marine Corps, I salute you. I was glad to have served with some of you. Semper Fi.