Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Corps Is 234! (that rhymes party people)

Happy Birthday to the United States Marine Corps! Oorah! I don't think two hundred and thirty four has ever looked more stellar!

Since learning more about the Marines after starting OAP, I will admit I have had a little bit of a crush. The discipline, the rugged Leatherneckedness, the uniform, it just all works for me. I have also had the honor to get to know a few Marines OAP reached out to during their deployments, and they were each and every one some pretty special people.

What's that, you want to know more? Well, let's start at the start, shall we?

Brief Wikipedian History Lesson:The United States Marine Corps (USMC) is a branch of the United States armed forces responsible for providing force projection from the sea, using the mobility of the United States Navy to rapidly deliver combined-arms task forces. It is one of seven uniformed services of the United States. In the civilian leadership structure of the United States military, the Marine Corps is a component of the Department of the Navy, often working closely with U.S. naval forces for training, transportation and logistic purposes; however, in the military leadership structure the Marine Corps is a separate branch.

Captain Samuel Nicholas formed two battalions of Continental Marines on 10 November 1775 in Philadelphia as naval infantry. Since then, the mission of Marine Corps has evolved with changing military doctrine and American foreign policy. The Marine Corps served in every American armed conflict and attained prominence in the 20th century when its theories and practices of amphibious warfare proved prescient and ultimately formed the cornerstone of the Pacific campaign of World War II. By the mid-20th century, the Marine Corps had become the dominant theorist and practitioner of amphibious warfare. Its ability to respond rapidly to regional crises gives it a strong role in the implementation and execution of American foreign policy.

The United States Marine Corps includes just over 203,000 (as of October 2009) active duty Marines and just under 40,000 reserve Marines. It is the smallest of the United States' armed forces in the Department of Defense (the United States Coast Guard is smaller, about one-fifth the size of the Marine Corps, but is under the Department of Homeland Security). The Marine Corps is nonetheless larger than the entire armed forces of many significant military powers; for example, it is larger than the active duty Israel Defense Forces or the whole of the British Army.

The Marine Corps is highly cost-effective. The cost per Marine is $20,000 less than the cost of a serviceman from the other services, and the entire force can be used for both hybrid and major combat operations, that is, the Marines cover the entire Three Block War.

I love military uniforms. The elegance and pageantry of them is not only inspiring but also a rather traditionally feminine trait of such a traditionally masculine field.

Remember earlier in the post how I mentioned getting to know a few Marines personally? Well one of my favorite memories on that subject is about Gunnery Sergeant Moncibais. He was only with us for a month or two when I put out an email to him and few others requesting a group Marine photo to gift to a very special donor we have who is a retired Marine. He literally rallied the troops and organized this this wonderful photo!

Boy did we have one happy Marine birthday boy when he received this framed photo with a note from GySgt. Moncibais. I have heard that this gift ended up in a place of honor in the middle of his "Marine Wall"
He and his Marines went out of their way [even made the nifty birthday sign, yo!] to do this when all along we were supposed to be helping them. A perfect example of a Marine's discipline of service.

And a colorful people too, those marines are. Their vernacular is one of my faves. Some of my favorite Marine sayings, or as I like to refer to them, truisms:

Semper Fidelis (Latin, meaning Always Faithful)
Marine Sniper -- Visualize World Peace
USMC IS Part Of The Navy -- The Men's Department
Pain Is Weakness Leaving The Body
Heaven Won't Take Us and Hell Is Afraid We'll Take Over
Death smiles at everyone. The Marines smile back.

Speaking of colorful, there have been a few memorable quotes about the Marines throughout history:

"Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference. The Marines don't have that problem." -Ronald Reagan

"I come in peace, I didn't bring artillery. But I am pleading with you with tears in my eyes: If you fuck with me, I'll kill you all." -Marine General James Mattis, to Iraqi tribal leaders

"I want you boys to hurry up and whip these Germans so we can get out to the Pacific to kick the s**t out of the purple-pissing Japanese, before the Godda**ed MARINES get all the credit!" -Lt General George Patton, US Army 1945

Books about the Marines I have really enjoyed:

Jarhead by Anthony Swofford

Shooter: The Autobiography Of The Top-Ranked Marine Sniper by Sgt. Jack Coughlin and Capt Casey Kuhlman

Making the Corps by Thomas Ricks

Are you one of those "movies are better than books" people? Fine then...

A Few Good Men - if you have never heard of it then I am speechless, and quite frankly, disappointed.

Jarhead - based on the book by the same name. Very well done account of one Marine's experience during the Gulf War. Added bonus -- it stars the yummy Jake Gyllenhaal and Jamie Foxx

Making the Corps - documentary series done by the Discovery channel that takes you from the disorientatingly dark parking lot bus drop off at Parris Island Recruit Depot to graduation day. There is a serious amount of ass-kicking training in between.

I will wrap it up here. I hope this posts inspires you to learn more about our military. Where would we be without all they do for our nation?!

Happy Birthday to corps - all you guys and gals out there who have done so much to protect and serve us all! Oorah!

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