Posts Tagged ‘Marines’
Started in a bar, with the bartender acting as recruiter.
Now, after 233 years in defense of liberty, The Marines are widely respected by the free and feared by the wicked as one of the fiercest, and certainly the most honorable, fighting force ever fielded by any nation in history.
Over at the Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler, 233 reasons to Love the Corp:
4. There’s no such thing as an “ex” Marine. (Well there wasn’t until Jack Murtha anyway – crunch)
5. Re-enlistment rates are higher IN the war zone.
22. “No better friend, no worse enemy.”
29. Recruiting in Texas is like hunting at the zoo.
50. [One of many individuals called out on this list. -- djm] Cpl. Gareth Hawkins, lying on a stretcher after an IED shattered his leg, demanded re-enlistment before medical evacuation. And got it.
61. Give a Marine some free time, and he’ll rip down your dictator’s statue.
142. The line to get “tazed” at a military gear expo. Marines will do anything for a free T-shirt.
154. The slogans: “The Few, The Proud, The Marines.” “We’re Looking For a Few Good Men,” “Once a Marine, always a Marine,” “Tell that to the Marines.” If they could only purchase the rights to Hallmark’s “When You Care Enough to Send the Very Best.”
126. Go to YouTube. Type in “bored Marines.” Enjoy. [I tried. I typed in "bored" -- and auto-complete put "bored marines" at the top of the list. -- djm]
128. The opposite of the Peace Corps.
And my absolute favorite, bar none:
78. Front toward enemy. It’s not just a visual reference on a Claymore mine, it’s a Marine Corps way of life.
I am not worthy to be a Marine — literally, I couldn’t even pass the physical to be in the Air Force. When I tried to enlist, lo these many years past, I didn’t even consider the Corp, because I knew I’d never make it.
I am, nevertheless, profoundly grateful to live in a nation that produces citizens who can be Marines, and that they choose to so serve.
My gratitude to the Marines themselves is without bounds.
I pray that the Nation you serve continues to be worthy of your service, and as faithful to you and your ideals as you are to us.
And here’s the deal, folks: even if we do not fulfill our end of the bargain (say, over the upcoming Presidential term), the Marines will continue to be faithful to the Constitution, and to us, until the last one of them dies.
So, you, or someone you know, is thinking about enlisting, “moving to the sound of the guns”. What should you read to prepare yourself?
Beats the bloody-be-heckers out of me. I’d guess maybe Heinlein’s Starship Troopers, famous, even notorious for its provocatively pro-military views. But it’s SF, and the lady in question is not a fan, to put it mildly. (If she were, of course, she’d already have read her Heinlein, including the inspiring but now-quaint retelling of the American Revolution, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.
How about movies? I remember Private Benjamin being an entertaining portrayal of a privileged young woman who goes to boot camp in rebellion against her smothering parents and intended husband. An Officer and a Gentleman shows a full-of-himself young man also benefiting from almost washing out in Basic. (Turns out Larz’s Mom has already ordered Benjamin. I can’t wait to find out how that goes.)
But that was all I could come up with, so I wrote to Grim Beorn, a very literate warrior indeed. I knew he’d published reading lists for folk already in the service, but didn’t remember seeing anything for civilians considering enlistment. Grim kindly pointed me to his standard post on the topic. It starts out with a story about adjusting to the culture in Iraq, but then moves on:
“An eighteen year old arriving at West Point,” says Grim, “already knows nothing but High School. What he needs to learn is how to be a hero.”
- Beowulf. “Out of the darkness of the prehistory of the human race, a superb and splendid hero emerged, to do battle with the monstrous forces of evil.” –Lin Carter, if I’m not mistaken. Quote from memory.
- The Illiad (Fitzgerald translation)
- The Saga of Burnt Njal.
- The Havamal, which “will teach you everything a hero needs to know, from how to enter a room to how to behave in company, from how to make and keep friends to how to be respected among great men. It is in its way a complete education.”
This will teach our soldiers what they need to know to relate to the sheikhs, and indeed many other cultures abroad. But it also does the soldier a great kindness, as it makes him an educated man. These are exactly the things you need to know to comprehend the Western tradition. With these as your base, nothing in America’s history is forbidding.
In his email, Grim goes on to make what, for me, was a very surprising suggestion: The Hobbit, which offers “a deep but subtle introduction into the pieces I suggest in the standard reply”. It’s been a long time since I’ve read The Hobbit, because I prefer the longer, sterner Lord of the Rings. Precisely because of that sterness, and the heavier use of myth and fantasy, I rejected LotR for Larz. And because, in contrast, I’m used to considering The Hobbit as, well, fluffier, more of a children’s book, I didn’t even think of it. But Grim’s got it right: it’s a fairly easy read, and shows very well the transformation of a quiet stick-in-the-mud civilian into a hero. I’m going to have to read it again myself.
Try her on the Norse sagas — they involve very much sailing and hardship, and serve as an advanced course in heroism. Don’t worry that they aren’t “modern,” because really, the technology changes aren’t that important. What really does matter is the culture, and the culture of fighting men (and, these days, women) is a thing long ago perfected. We just need to continue to remind ourselves of what our ancestors knew.
Then he said something else I’ve never considered, but take very much to heart:
In addition, the slightly alien feel of the sagas will prepare her for thinking about a slightly alien world like the Navy. It’s an important skill that she should learn, how to think about the meaning behind customs and traditions that are different from what she already knows.
Whether Larz reads this stuff or not, it’s clear that I, myself have some catching up to do. She’s young and fit and strong and can no doubt even now whip my flabby middle-aged butt anytime she chooses, but I will not be outdone on the reading front.
Then, as a parting gift for boot camp, I can in good conscience give her selections from here, the official Marine Reading List. This list also includes another work of science fiction that has come under peacenik fire: Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game. This, too, is a tale of a boot-camp, but a very strange one, one for grade-school children in outer space. I would never have guessed that the Marines would take that as an authoritative introduction to military life–but now I see that the “slightly alien feel” Grim speaks of may well have played a role.
Another important item from that list is available on-line: the Marine Corp manual on Warfighting [PDF]. This is golden: the inside skinny on how Marines think about the thing they do better than any other force in the world.
Anyway, thanks, Grim, for the reply, and for your website generally, which has over the past couple-three years given me considerable insight into the Warrior Spirit, as exemplified by this from G.K. Chesterton:
How white their steel, how bright their eyes! I love each laughing knave,
Cry high and bid him welcome to the banquet of the brave.
Yea, I will bless them as they bend and love them where they lie,
When on their skulls the sword I swing falls shattering from the sky.
The hour when death is like a light and blood is like a rose, –
You never loved your friends, my friends, as I shall love my foes.
A couple of other bits I dug out while writing this:
Confederate Yankee’s take on LTC Dave Grossman’s original Sheep, Wolves, and Sheepdogs essay (quoted in its entirety). Everybody, sheep or sheepdog, should read this.
Bill Whittle. Wordy, but oh so satisfying:
Honor, the short, sweet essay that made Whittle’s reputation. “…The many, many sergeants…”
I cannot hear or read the word “sergeant” anymore and not think of this essay.
Freedom, and the price that must be paid for it. Why we have the Second Amendment. Whittle hits his stride.
Empire: “For the first time in history, a nation powerful enough to rule the world has simply refused to do so.” Damn betcha, and why, exactly why, my precious, precious niece does an honorable thing by volunteering to go forth and put herself in harm’s way.
War. Why we’re at it, right now, written at a time so many of us were not sure.
History. A little bit about how we got here, about another time when everybody knew “The war is an abject and utter failure. What everyone thought would be a quick, decisive victory has turned into an embarrassing series of reversals.” And how it all turned around on an insignificant mound of dirt known as Little Round Top, with an insignificant amateur named Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain as the hinge pin.
Whittle. He’s one of the good guys, and does not write often enough. Read all his stuff.
This young lady is considering enlisting in either the Navy or the Marines. (The Air Force, apparently, has ugly uniforms, and is right out.)
All of us who know her, even me, have done a double-take: “The Marines? The Storming Iwo Jima Marines? Squeem Queen Larz in the Marines?”
We are wrong to have done so. Indeed, to my burning shame, I find myself having fallen for the same stereotype as, gack, the Puppy Trainer of Record, the New York Times. From Subsunk over at Blackfive comes this very reassuring take:
Really???? “Potentially misleading”, “selling war”, “She’s supposed to look like she’s being empowered”, “hard to think of it as empowerment”? What’s misleading about female Marines being in charge? What’s misleading about female Marines knowing how to pick up a rifle and use it? What’s misleading about portraying female Marines as Leaders. Where is selling the Iraq war mentioned in the ad?
I don’t know about you, but if a female Marine Officer struck a defensive martial arts stance on me, I wouldn’t think of it as anything other than a prelude to getting my ass kicked if I laid a hand on her. If that’s not “empowering” (God, I hate that word…it is too PC and wimpy for me), then I don’t know what is.
He corrects a few other misconceptions which, I’m pleased to say, I don’t share in the least:
It would seem [from the Times article] that our forces are taking a pounding from the enemy. While I am reasonably sure Ms. Thompson [a quoted "expert"] didn’t actually mean it that way, it is the quote the reporter chose to use, and it conveys facts which are not in evidence. The only “pounding” our guys take is the pounding their morale takes due to long deployments away from home, and the MSM characterizing them as murderers of innocents, and uneducated grunts with bad table manners and horrible breath. In the context of actual combat, while I am sure they do not appreciate incoming fire, I am equally certain that “taking a pounding” is not a sentiment that they would choose to use in describing their situations. “Giving a pounding, ass kicking, meting out excessive punishment, “getting some”, or just generally beating the living sh*t out of some assh*les who desperately deserve it” might be a more accurate portrayal of their language.
Anyway, Larz, my anxiety and doubt is relieved. Take the aptitude test, pass your physical, finish high school, sign the contract, take the Oath, get through Basic, and Kick Ass.
Remember the one thing Blackfive says the Times got right:
There are no female Marines. Just Marines.
(And I hope it’s clear that the title of this post is meant to subvert the idea of “girly”, not to denigrate the Marines.)
Be sure to read the comments at Blackfive. Some note that the Times article can be seen in a very positive light.