“Tango Mike Mike”

An incredible story of determination and valor.

Published in: on January 16, 2010 at 10:44 am  Comments (1)  

What’s So Special About the Marine Corps?

Ask a Marine what’s so special about the Marines and
the answer would be
“esprit de corps”, an unhelpful French phrase
that means exactly what it
looks like – the spirit of the Corps…but what is that
spirit? and where
does it come from?

The Marine Corps is the only branch of the U.S. Armed
Forces that recruits people specifically to Fight. The Army emphasizes personal
development (an Army of One), the Navy promises fun (let the journey
begin), the Air Force  offers security (its a great way of life).
Missing from all the advertisements is the hard fact that a
soldier’s life  is to suffer and perhaps to die for his people and take
lives at the risk of his/her own.
Even the thematic music of the services  reflects this evasion. The Army’s
Caisson Song describes a pleasant country outing.
Over hill and dale, lacking only a picnic basket. Anchors Aweigh…the
Navy’s celebration of the joys of sailing could have been penned by Jimmy Buffet. The
Air Force song is a lyric poem of blue skies and engine thrust.
All is joyful, and invigorating, and safe. There are no land mines in the
dales nor snipers behind the hills, no submarines or cruise missiles threaten
the ocean jaunt,  no bandits are lurking in the wild blue yonder.
The Marines’ Hymn, by contrast, is all combat.
“We fight our Country’s  battles,”
“First to fight for right and  freedom,”
“We have fought in every clime and place where we could take a gun,”
“In  many a strife we have fought  for life and never lost our nerve.”
The choice is made clear. You may join the Army to go to adventure training,
or join the Navy to go to Bangkok, or join the Air Force to go to computer
You join the Marine Corps to go to War!
But the mere act of signing the enlistment contract confers no status in the Corps.
The Army recruit is told from his first minute in uniform that “you’re in  the Army now, soldier”.
The Navy and Air Force enlistees are sailors or airmen as soon  as they get off
the bus at the training center. The new arrival at Marine Corps boot camp is called a recruit, or worse, (a lot worse),
but never a  MARINE. Not yet, maybe never. He or she must earn the right to claim the title of UNITED STATES MARINE,
and failure returns you to civilian life without hesitation  or ceremony.
Recruit Platoon 2210 at San Diego, California trained from October through December of 1968.
In Viet Nam the Marines were taking two hundred casualties a week and the major rainy season and
Operation Meade River had not even begun yet Drill Instructors had no qualms about winnowing out almost a
quarter of their 112 recruits, graduating 81.
Note that this was post-enlistment attrition. Every one of those 31 who were  dropped had been
passed by the recruiters as fit for service. But they failed the test of Boot Camp!
Not necessarily for physical reasons. At least two were outstanding high school athletes for whom
the calisthenics and running were child’s play. The cause of their failure was not in the biceps nor the legs, but in the spirit.
They had lacked the will to endure the mental and emotional strain so they would not be Marines.
Heavy commitments and high casualties not withstanding, the Corps reserves the right to pick and choose.
History classes in boot camp? Stop a soldier on the street and ask him to name a battle of World War One.
Pick a sailor at random and ask for a description of the epic fight of the Bon Homme Richard.
Ask an airman who Major Thomas McGuire was and what is named after him. I am not carping and
there is no sheer in this criticism. All of the services have glorious traditions but no one teaches the young soldier, sailor or
airman what his uniform means and why he should be proud of it.
But…ask a Marine about World War One and you will hear of the wheat field at Belleau Wood and the courage of the Fourth Marine Brigade comprised of the Fifth and Sixth Marines. Faced with an enemy of superior numbers entrenched in tangled forest undergrowth the Marines received an order to attack that even the charitable cannot call ill-advised.
It was insane. Artillery support was absent and air support hadn’t been invented yet. Even so the Brigade charged German machine guns with only bayonets, grenades, and an indomitable fighting spirit. A bandy-legged little barrel of a Gunnery
Sergeant, Daniel J. Daly, rallied his company with a shout, “Come on you sons a bitches, do you want to live forever?”
He took out three machine guns himself. French liaison-officers hardened though they were by four years of trench
bound slaughter were shocked as the Marines charged across the open wheat  field under a blazing sun directly into the teeth of enemy fire. Their action was so anachronistic on the twentieth-century field of battle that  they might as well have been swinging cutlasses. But the enemy was only human. The Boche could not stand up to the onslought.
So the Marines took Belleau Wood. The Germans, those that survived, thereafter referred to the Marines as “Tuefel
Hunden” (Devil Dogs) and the French in tribute renamed the woods “Bois de la Brigade de Marine” (Woods of the Brigade of Marines).
Every Marine knows this story and dozens more. We are taught them in boot camp as a regular part of the curriculum.
Every Marine will always be taught them! You can learn to don a gas mask anytime, even on the plane in route to the war zone, but before you can wear the Eagle, Globe and Anchor and claim the title United States Marine you must first know about
the Marines who made that emblem and title meaningful. So long as you can march and shoot and revere the legacy of the Corps you can take your place in line.
And that line is as unified in spirit as in purpose. A soldier wears branch of service insignia on his collar, metal shoulder pins and
cloth sleeve patches to identify his unit. Sailors wear a rating badge that identifies what they do for the Navy.
Marines wear only the Eagle,Globe and Anchor  together with personal ribbons and their CHERISHED  marksmanship badges. They know why the uniforms are the colors they are and what each color means.
There is nothing on a Marine’s uniform to indicate what he or she does nor what unit the Marine belongs to. You cannot tell by looking at a Marine whether you are seeing a truck driver, a computer  programmer or a machine gunner or a cook or a baker. The Marine is amorphous, even anonymous, by conscious design. The Marine is a Marine.
Every Marine is a rifleman first and foremost, a Marine first, last and Always!
You may serve a four-year enlistment or even a twenty plus year career without seeing action but if the word is given
you’ll charge across that Wheatfield! Whether a Marine has been schooled in automated supply or automotive mechanics or aviation electronics or whatever is immaterial.Those things are secondary — the Corps does them because it must.
The modern battle requires the technical appliances and since the enemy has them so do we.
But no Marine boasts mastery of them. Our pride is in our marksmanship, our discipline, and our membership in a
fraternity of courage and sacrifice.
“For the honor of the fallen, for the glory of the dead”,
Edgar Guest wrote of Belleau Wood. “The living line of courage kept the faith and moved ahead.”
They are all gone now, those Marines who made a French farmer’s little Wheatfield into one of the most enduring
of Marine Corps legends. Many of  them did not survive the day and eight long decades have claimed the rest.
But their actions are immortal. The Corps remembers them and honors what they did and so they live forever.
Dan Daly’s shouted challenge takes on its true meaning – if you lie in the trenches you may survive for now,
but someday you may die and no one will care. If you charge the guns you may die in the next two minutes,
but you will be one of the immortals.
All Marines die in either the red flash of battle or the white cold of the nursing home. In the vigor of youth or the infirmity of age
all will eventually die but the Marine Corps lives on.
Every Marine who ever lived is living still, in the Marines who claim the title today.
It is that sense of belonging to something that will outlive our own mortality, which gives people a light to live by and a
flame to mark their passing.

Passed on to a Marine from another Marine!

Published in: on January 16, 2010 at 10:35 am  Leave a Comment  

The Old Corps Submitted by, Jim Almeida

When We Were Young, They Talked About “The Old Corps.”

Now We Are The “Old Corps!”

Remember when…

Everyone was issued dress blues.

You kept your rifle in the barracks.

Your 782 gear did not wear out.

Mess halls were mess halls (NOT dining facilities).

No vandalism wrecked the barracks.

Everyone was a Marine and his ethnic background was unimportant.

We had heroes.

Chaplains didn’t teach leadership to the experts.

Getting high meant getting drunk.

Beer was 25 cents at the slopchute.

Skivvies had tie-ties.

We starched our khakis and looked like hell after sitting down the first time.

We wore the short green battle jacket with the winter uniform.

We wore Sam Browne belts and sharpened one edge of the buckle for the bad fights.

We kept our packs made up and hanging on the edge of the rack.

We spit shined shoes.

Brownbaggers’ first concern was the Marine Corps.

Generals cussed.

Generals paid more attention to the Marine Corps than to politics.

UA meant being a few minutes late from a great liberty, and only happened

once per career.

Brigs were truly “correctional” facilities.

Sergeants were gods.

The tips of the index and middle fingers of one hand were constantly black

from Kiwi shoe polish.

We scrubbed the wooden decks of the barracks with creosol.

We had wooden barracks.

Privates made less than $100.00 a month.

Privates always had money.

You weren’t transported to war by Trans World or Pan American airlines.

Barracks violence was a fight between two buddies who were buddies

when it was over.

Larceny was a civilian crime.

Every Marine had all his gear.

Marines had more uniforms than civilian clothes.

Country and western music did not start race riots in the clubs.

We had no race riots because we had no recognition of races.

Marine Corps birthdays were celebrated on 10 November no matter what day

of the week it may have been (except Sunday).

Support units supported.

The supply tail did not wag the maintenance dog.

The 734 form was the only supply document.

You did your own laundry, including ironing.

You aired bedding.

Daily police of outside areas was held although they were always clean.

Field stripping of cigarette butts was required.

Everyone helped at field day.

A tour as Duty NCO was an honor.

Everyone got up a reveille.

We had live bugle calls inside the barrack, sometimes at the foot of your rack.

Movies were free.

PX items were bargains.

Parking was the least of problems because troops couldn’t afford cars.

You weren’t married unless you could afford it.

Courts-martial orders were read in battalion formations.

A bum didn’t have a BCD awarded more than once before he actually got it.

We had the “Rocks and Shoals.”

Courts-martial were a rarity.

People receiving BCD’s were drummed out the gate.

NCOs and officers were not required to be psychologists.

The mission was the most important thing.

Marines could shoot.

Marines had a decent rifle.

The BAR was the mainstay of the fire team.

Machine gunnery was an art.

Maggie’s drawers meant a miss and was considered demeaning as hell to

the dignity of the shooter.

Carbide lamps blackened sights.

We wore leggings and herringbone utilities.

We had machine gun carts.

We mixed target paste in the butts.

We had to take and pass promotion tests to get promoted, plus have the

required cutting score.

We really had equal opportunity.

Sickbays gave APCs for all ailments.

We had short-arm inspections.

The flame tank was in the arsenal of weapons.

We had unit parties overseas with warm beer and no drugs.

Marines got haircuts.

Non-judicial punishment was non-judicial.

The squad bay rich guy was the only one with a radio.

If a Marine couldn’t make it on a hike, his buddies carried his gear and helped

him stumble along so that he wouldn’t have to fall out.

The base legal section was one or two clerks and a lawyer.

We had oval dog tags.

Marines wore dog tags all the time.

We spit shined shoes and BRUSH shined boots.

We wore boondockers.

We starched field scarves.

We worked a five and one half day week.

Everyone attended unit parties.

In the field we used straddle trenches instead of “Porta-Potties.”

Hitchhiking was an offense.

We used Morse Code for difficult transmissions.

The oil burning tent stove was the center of social activity in the tent.

We had unit mail call.

We carried swagger sticks.

We had Chesty Puller.

Greater privileges for NCOs were not a “right.”

EM Clubs were where you felt at home — and safe.

We sailed on troop ships and we rode troop trains.

Sentries had some authority.

Warrant Officers were not in their teens.

Mess hall “Southern cooking” was not called “soul food.”

Marines went to chapel on Sundays.

Weekend liberty to a distant place was a rarity.

The color of a Marine’s skin was of no consequence.

The Marine Corps was a big team made up of thousands of little teams.

We debarked from ship by means of nets over the side, landed in LCVPs and

always got wet.

We had platoon virgins.

We had parades.

We had pride.

We had Esprit de Corps.

Published in: on January 14, 2010 at 12:01 pm  Leave a Comment  

THANKS, by Col. Oliver North

Col. North has a very unique way of telling it, like it is….  Our troops of today are required to apply themselves to a completely different set of rules of engagement along with the overall conditions, that limits and restrict their units daily combat action performances…


Published in: on January 9, 2010 at 12:42 pm  Leave a Comment  

Quantico, Marine O.C.S.


Published in: on January 9, 2010 at 12:36 pm  Leave a Comment  

Cemetery Escort Duty

I just wanted to get the day over with and go down to Smokey’s. Sneaking a look at my watch, I saw the time, 1655. Five minutes to go before the cemetery gates are closed for the day. Full dress was hot in the August sun. Oklahoma summertime was as bad as ever–the heat and humidity at the same level–both too high.
I saw the car pull into the drive, ’69 or ’70 model Cadillac Deville, looked factory-new. It pulled into the parking lot at a snail’s pace. An old woman got out so slow I thought she was paralyzed; she had a cane and a sheaf of flowers–about four or five bunches as best I could tell.
I couldn’t help myself. The thought came unwanted, and left a slightly bitter taste: ‘She’s going to spend an hour, and for this old soldier, my hip hurts like hell and I’m ready to get out of here right now!’ But for this day, my duty was to assist anyone coming in.
Kevin would lock the ‘In’ gate and if I could hurry the old biddy along, we might make it to Smokey’s in time.
I broke post attention. My hip made gritty noises when I took the first step and the pain went up a notch. I must have made a real military sight: middle-aged man with a small pot gut and half a limp, in marine full-dress uniform, which had lost its razor crease about thirty minutes after I began the watch at the cemetery.
I stopped in front of her, halfway up the walk. She looked up at me with an old woman’s squint.
Ma’am, may I assist you in any way?
She took long enough to answer.
Yes, son. Can you carry these flowers? I seem to be moving a tad slow these days.
My pleasure, ma’am.‘ Well, it wasn’t too much of a lie.
She looked again. ‘
Marine, where were you stationed?
Vietnam , ma’am. Ground-pounder. ’69 to ’71.
She looked at me closer. ‘
Wounded in action, I see. Well done, Marine. I’ll be as quick as I can.
I lied a little bigger: ‘
No hurry, ma’am.
She smiled and winked at me. ‘
Son, I’m 85-years-old and I can tell a lie from a long way off. Let’s get this done. Might be the last time I can do this. My name’s Joanne Wieserman, and I’ve a few Marines I’d like to see one more time.
Yes, ma ‘am. At your service.
She headed for the World War I section, stopping at a stone. She picked one of the flowers out of my arm and laid it on top of the stone. She murmured something I couldn’t quite make out. The name on the marble was
Donald S. Davidson, USMC: France 1918.
She turned away and made a straight line for the World War II section, stopping at one stone. I saw a tear slowly tracking its way down her cheek. She put a bunch on a stone; the name was
Stephen X.Davidson, USMC, 1943.
She went up the row a ways and laid another bunch on a stone,
Stanley J. Wieserman, USMC, 1944.
She paused for a second. ‘
Two more, son, and we’ll be done
I almost didn’t say anything, but, ‘
Yes, ma’am. Take your time.
She looked confused. ‘
Where’s the Vietnam section, son? I seem to have lost my way.
I pointed with my chin. ‘
That way, ma’am.
‘Oh!’ she chuckled quietly. ‘
Son, me and old age ain’t too friendly.
She headed down the walk I’d pointed at. She stopped at a couple of stones befor e she found the ones she wanted. She placed a bunch on
Larry Wieserman, USMC, 1968, and the last on Darrel Wieserman, USMC, 1970. She stood there and murmured a few words I still couldn’t make out.
OK, son, I’m finished. Get me back to my car and you can go home.
Yes, ma’am. If I may ask, were those your kinfolk?
She paused. ‘
Yes, Donald Davidson was my father, Stephen was my uncle, Stanley was my husband, Larry and Darrel were our sons. All killed in action, all marines.
She stopped. Whether she had finished, or couldn’t finish, I don’t know. She made her way to her car, slowly and painfully.
I waited for a polite distance to come between us and then double-timed it over to Kevin, waiting by the car.
Get to the ‘Out’ gate quick. I have something I’ve got to do.
Kevin started to say something, but saw the look I gave him. He broke the rules to get us there down the service road. We beat her. She hadn’t made it around the rotunda yet.
Kevin, stand at attention next to the gatepost. Follow my lead. ‘ I humped it across the drive to the other post.
When the Cadillac came puttering around from the hedges and began the short straight traverse to the gate, I called in my best gunny’s voice: ‘
TehenHut! Present Haaaarms!
I have to hand it to Kevin; he never blinked an eye–full dress attention and a salute that would make his DI proud.
She drove through that gate with two old worn-out soldiers giving her a send-off she deserved, for service rendered to her country, and for knowing duty, honor and sacrifice.
I am not sure, but I think I saw a salute returned from that Cadillac.
Instead of ‘
The End,’ just think of ‘Taps.

As a final thought on my part, let me share a favorite prayer: ‘
Lord, keep our servicemen and women safe, whether they serve at home or overseas. Hold them in your loving hands and protect them as they protect us.
Let’s all keep those currently serving and those who have gone before in our thoughts. They are the reason for the many freedoms we enjoy.
‘In God We Trust.’
Sorry about your monitor; it made mine blurry too!
If we ever forget that we’re one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under
I am so darned patriotic that even when our National Anthem is played, I get a lump in the throat.
I hope this touches you as it did me. We get alot of “Forwards”, most of which I delete, but this one… well, I hope you understand why I am taking up a couple of minutes of your time today…
Published in: on January 9, 2010 at 12:06 pm  Leave a Comment