Category Archives: Marines

A Vietnam Hero

To the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese, he was known as “White Feather” for the feather he wore in his cap, and they had a $30,000 reward for him. They sent their own snipers to get him, and he killed them all.

One of their best, named The Cobra, had him in his sights 500 yards away, and Carlos Hathcock, seeing the flash of his scope lens through his own scope, fired a fraction of a second first.

His bullet went through the enemy’s scope, killing him. Five hundred yards and hitting a lens maybe an inch in diameter.

A number of Hollywood movies have used this as a scene, but only Hathcock really did it.

The SEAL’s own Chris Kyle, considered to be the deadliest sniper in military history, credited Carlos Hathcock as his inspiration.

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Meeting 2 Iwo Jima Veterans

Meeting 2 Iwo Jima Veterans
The Guests of Honor: Cpl Frank Wright (left) Maj Bill White (right)

They are going so fast now, the veterans of WW2. Growing up in the 50s, they were all around me. My father, of course. He had a good friend who was an Army tank commander in North Africa. Another family friend was in the 2nd wave at D-Day. My uncle was a Marine.

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Iwo Jima 75th Anniversary


On February 19, 1945, Operation Detachment commenced and the landings on Iwo Jima began.

Seventy-five years ago, U.S. Marines came ashore on a desolate eight-square-mile volcanic island dominated by Mount Suribachi and located roughly halfway between the Marianas and Tokyo. Iwo Jima’s value lay in its airfields. B-29 Superfortresses that were damaged or low on fuel could land there, and Army Air Forces fighters based on the island could escort the bombers to their targets in Japan. Three Marine divisions—more than 70,000 men—had the task of seizing the island. But an operation that U.S. commanders forecast would take a week to complete would stretch out to five weeks, and the Marines’ determination and sacrifice on Iwo Jima would become enduring touchstones for the Corps.

Before that time, the Marines didn’t know that the Japanese would be in a labyrinth of tunnels, bunkers, and caves, prepared over many months in anticipation of their landing. They could wait out the massive bombardments of the Navy ships. One tunnel was 90′ deep.

They had seriously underestimated the Japanese defenses. The battle would last 36 bloody days. For every square mile of that island, more than 800 Marines would lose their lives.

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65 Years Ago Today

By lex, on February 23rd, 2010

65 years ago today

The raising of that flag on Suribachi means a Marine Corps for the next five hundred years.” — James Forrestal

Semper Fi.

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Before I left for San Diego last week, I learned that one of the Lexicans has a son who was to graduate at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego. A couple of us Lexicans wanted to meet him there.

I had always seen the entrance there at the base of Washington Street – right next to Lindbergh Field. It appeared like it gained entrance to a small facility.


I thought it looked strange to see a parked 757 literally feet from the fence.

And I thought that there would be 100-200 parents and family that would be in bleachers like a Little League game. That the Lexican would be easy to find.

After going through a thorough search, Marine Corps style (no pictures were allowed) I gained entrance and was I in for a surprise.

The bleachers, nearly full, were more befitting of a small stadium.

The parade ground alone could be used as a runway!

And when I saw the “bleachers” and how full they were, it was obvious that I would be watching this ceremony by myself.

It looked like there were a thousand or 2 Marines all standing out there at parade rest, but I learned later that there were 488 graduates.

I have always felt that a pass in review, with all of the soldiers or Marines in perfect harmony and precision, is a thing of beauty to watch, and they did not disappoint.

Anyway, congratulations after that long road to becoming a Marine.




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They’ll Do It Their Way

By lex, on March 14th, 2010

The Marines are busy winning hearts and minds in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. Which is a pretty good thing, because if this WaPo article has it right, they’re not winning many hearts or minds at CENTCOM:

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The Lessons of TF Smith


By lex, on December 30th, 2010

On 30 June 1950, an understrength and under-equipped battalion of 430 infantrymen, along with a 134-man artillery detachment – together known as Task Force Smith – left their cozy garrisons in occupied Japan to reinforce the line in Osan, Korea. The occupation forces sent to oppose the North Korean blitz were not the same battle hardened soldiers that had driven through Europe and across the Pacific 5 years earlier. Their training in combined arms action had been perfunctory. They faced over 30 tanks and 5000 DPRK regulars – two full infantry regiments. When the North Koreans hit them – hard – they fought as well as any men might under such circumstances before they were nearly enveloped. After three and a half hours of sustained combat, low on ammunition and with their communications cut-off, they were forced to withdraw. One isolated platoon was even forced to leave behind its equipment, their dead and even some of their more seriously wounded comrades. With characteristic magnanimity, the victorious North Korean soldiers bound the survivors hands behind their backs and shot each of them once with a bullet to the back of the head.

This wasn’t the war that they had trained for.

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Born on a Barstool

By lex, on November 10, 2008


Today is the 233rd Anniversary of the creation of the US Marine Corps!

During the American Revolution, many important political discussions took place in the inns and taverns of Philadelphia, including the founding of the Marine Corps.

A committee of the Continental Congress met at Tun Tavern to draft a resolution calling for two battalions of Marines able to fight for independence at sea and on shore.

The resolution was approved on November 10, 1775, officially forming the Continental Marines.

As the first order of business, Samuel Nicholas became Commandant of the newly formed Marines. Tun Tavern’s owner and popular patriot, Robert Mullan, became his first captain and recruiter. They began gathering support and were ready for action by early 1776.

Each year, the Marine Corps marks November 10th with a celebration of the brave spirit which compelled these men and thousands since to defend our country as United States Marines.

Pound for pound, one of the finest fighting forces the world has ever seen, and a great team to have on your side in a scrape. Or, if you’re the Navy, mucking around ashore and out of the goram way. Instead of lounging around in the ladder wells when they aren’t bogarting the gym.

Born On A Barstool

So lift your cups to the Devil Dogs, and wish them all a happy birthday.

Just, you know: Speak slowly.


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Twice is a Trend

By lex, on December 21st, 2011

Last week in’s Danger Room, David Axe gave a USAF mishap investigation team a harrowing over their report of an Elmendorf-based F-22 crash. The mishap report itself seemed to me fair, factual and rational. Mr. Axe’s response, less so. This week he has the Marine Corps MV-22 in his cross-hairs in a post entitled “Controversial Marine Tiltrotor Fights Its First Gun Battle.

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Brief note to the perpetually self-absorbed

Posted July 8th, 2007 by lex


I know this is a hard concept for the baby boom generation to grok, because we’ve all of us been told how important we are, how special, and how authentically wonderful. But when your 23-year old son joins the Marines – the Marines, for God’s sake, America’s 911 force – in order to serve his country and ends up going to the battlefield where his country’s enemies are found?

It’s not about you, anymore. It’s not about your feelings, or where you got your master’s degree. It’s about him. The young man who stood up and said, “I’ll go. Choose me.”

These are hard times. You ought to try and get over yourself, see the larger picture. Recognize who actually has skin in the game, and who is merely spectating. Pray a bit. Hope for the best. Write often. Send gedunk.

Just like all the people who didn’t get their master’s degree at Columbia.

Silly git.

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