Monday, November 10, 2008

Happy birthday, US Marines!


Today is the 233rd birthday of the United States Marine Corps.




With 198,000 active-duty Marines and 40,000 reservists, the USMC is the smallest arm of the US military (the US Coast Guard is smaller, but it now falls under the Department of Homeland Security instead of the Department of Defense). Nevertheless, it's larger than the armed forces of many sovereign nations, including the entire regular British forces - Royal Army, Royal Air Force and Royal Navy combined.

I've had the privilege of serving alongside several former Marines, and they taught me some of the skills that kept me alive to write these words. I'm deeply grateful to them, and to their Corps.

In his 2008 birthday message, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, General James T. Conway, had this to say:

R 082000z OCT 08
ALMAR 042/08
MSGID/GENADMIN/CMC WASHINGTON DC CMC//
SUBJ/UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS BIRTHDAY MESSAGE - 10 NOVEMBER 2008//
POC/SSGT M. BELL/ADMIN CHIEF/UNIT:CMC STAFF GROUP/-
/TEL:(703) 614-2326//

GENTEXT/REMARKS/1. 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.




2. 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.




3. 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.




4. 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.




5. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MARINES AND SEMPER FIDELIS!

JAMES T. CONWAY, GENERAL, U.S. MARINE CORPS, COMMANDANT OF THE MARINE CORPS//


From this combat veteran, to the finest combat outfit in the US Armed Forces - "Saaaa-LUTE!"

Peter

3 comments:

MeadowLark said...

Why, thank you. ;)
I'll be hoisting a tankard of ale to my brothers and sisters tonight.

OOH RAH

Anonymous said...

I'd congratulate my favorite Marine, my nephew the gunny sgt.: he's in the sandbox these days, but I did send him a bunch of party supplies in his last care-package!

SpeakerTweaker said...

I wish I knew a marine nearby, so I could buy him a drink!



tweaker