Category Archives: Marines

Tomodachi

Posted by lex, on March 27th, 2011

The US Marines are showing the citizens of Sendai what the first part of General James Mattis’ dictum “No better friend, no worse enemy” means:

Roughly 20,000 U.S. troops have been mobilized in “Operation Tomodachi,” or “Friend.” It is the biggest bilateral humanitarian mission the U.S. has conducted in Japan, its most important ally in Asia, and it is ramping up fast.

As logistics gradually improve, U.S. troops have been moving farther into hard-hit zones and providing tons of relief supplies and badly needed manpower to help the hundreds of thousands of Japanese whose lives were shattered in the March 11 disaster.

In a part of Japan that hosts few U.S. bases, the Americans in uniform are a high-profile presence.

“To be honest, I didn’t think much about the U.S. troops until now,” said Arika Ota, 29, who works at an amusement center in the coastal city of Sendai. “But when I see them working at the airport every day, I’m really thankful. They are working really hard. I never imagined they could help us so much.”

Their grandfathers learned the second part for themselves.

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What The Panel Wants

Posted by lex, on March 18th, 2011

A congressional commission wants a US military that “looks like America“:

Just as the U.S. military is indoctrinating troops to accept open gays in their ranks, a federal commission is pressing the Pentagon to make the force more diverse by, among other ideas, opening infantry and armor units to women…

The commission says it wants the military to resemble the ethnic makeup of America. It is urging the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force to “validate” the standards – such as education, test scores, criminal records and drug use – that disqualify large numbers of blacks and Hispanics.

“Racial/ethnic minorities are less likely to meet eligibility requirements than are non-Hispanic whites, and that gap is widening,” the report says.

The commission said women should be allowed into male-only land combat units to “create a level playing field” in promotions “for all service members who meet the qualifications.”

I’m sort of confused which comes first: Do we eliminate the qualification standards before we promote by  grievance group, quota, or vice versa?

Because if our first priority is to be a federal jobs program rather than fight and win the nation’s wars, it’s terribly important that we get the sequencing right.

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Motivating The Corps

Posted by Lex, on September 10, 2010

 

Like they need any motivation.

Motivatinkg The Corps

Update: Apparently one of the pirates has irritable bowel syndrome –

“As soon as the first stack of [Marines] made our way into the bridge, their hands were up, their weapons were down, they moved to their knees and they were compliant,” Martin said. “At that point, they were pretty scared. One guy actually defecated himself. … He sh– his pants. I don’t know if that can go on the news or not, but that actually happened.”

This piracy lark is all good and well when you’re the only one with a gun. A little less fun when you’re not.

Update 2Unintentional evacuation begins in three, two…

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Laboratories of Counterinsurgency

Posted by Lex, on May 23, 2010

 

Small wars are what the US Marine Corps does best. But VDH writes that insurgents may not be the Corps’ biggest adversary, but rather a coalition of bureaucracies:

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Snake Eating?

Posted by lex, on February 10, 2010

 

So five minutes ago.

I’ve been hungry, a time or two. I’ve eaten armadillo, rabbit and snake when they was no other food to be had.

I never got that hungry.

 

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Kinder,  Gentler Warfare

Posted by lex, on September 17, 2009

 

General McChrystal recently worried that our tactical decisions in Afghanistan might have strategic consequences. It turns out that the reverse may also be true:

NATO-led forces are investigating the death of four Marines in eastern Afghanistan after their commanders reportedly rejected requests for artillery fire in a battle with insurgents, the Pentagon said on Wednesday…

A McClatchy newspapers’ journalist who witnessed the battle reported that a team of Marine trainers made repeated appeals for air and artillery support after being pinned down by insurgents in the village of Ganjgal in eastern Kunar province.

The U.S. troops had to wait more than an hour for attack helicopters to come to their aid and their appeal for artillery fire was rejected, with commanders citing new rules designed to avoid civilian casualties, the report said.

Four young Marines paid the butcher’s bill. We have to do better than this.

 

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Taking Chance

By lex, on February 14, 2009

Most of you have probably read Lt. Col. Michael Strobl’s story of bringing Marine Private First Class Chance Phelps home to Dubois, Montana from Dover, Delaware. If you haven’t please set a side a moment to read it here. We learn a little bit about PFC Phelps, how he died returning fire to protect his convoy. But we learn a great deal more about ourselves, who we are, what we honor. How much we all share.

HBO has made a television movie of the story, the trailer is here.

And if you’ve got  a moment on the evening of 21 February 2009, join me wherever you are, and watch Taking Chance.

 

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