Of the thousands of troops and military passengers that I carried on the old KC-10 during my career, I always enjoyed carrying Marines.
All of our joint training in the 80's paid off when we pulled in to MCAS Cherry Point in August of '90 and saw rows upon rows of cargo pallets neatly aligned and ready to load. As we took the 2d Marine Air Wing to the sandbox for Desert Shield, my high respect for the Corps was increased by the leadership and professionalism demonstrated by the NCO's and Junior Officers.
As I will probably misquote, "Were do we find men like these?"
And to all the other vets out there, an early Happy Veterans Day!
The safest place in Korea was right behind a platoon of Marines. Lord, how they could fight! [MGen. Frank E. Lowe, USA; Korea, 26 January 1952]
Marines know how to use their bayonets. Army bayonets may as well be paper-weights. [Navy Times; November 1994]
Why in hell can't the Army do it if the Marines can. They are the same kind of men; why can't they be like Marines. [Gen. John J. "Black Jack" Pershing, USA; 12 February 1918]
The United States Marine Corps, with it fiercely proud tradition of excellence in combat, its hallowed rituals, and its unbending code of honor, is part of the fabric of American myth. [Thomas E. Ricks; Making the Corps, 1997]
The raising of that flag on Suribachi means a Marine Corps for the next five hundred years. [James Forrestal, Secretary of the Navy; 23 February 1945 (the flag-raising on Iwo Jima had been immortalized in a photograph by Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal)]
I have just returned from visiting the Marines at the front, and there is not a finer fighting organization in the world! [Gen. Douglas MacArthur, USA; Korea, 21 September 1950]
We have two companies of Marines running rampant all over the northern half of this island, and three Army regiments pinned down in the southwestern corner, doing nothing. What the hell is going on? [Gen. John W. Vessey Jr., USA, Chairman of the the Joint Chiefs of Staff; during the assault on Grenada, 1983]
Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference in the world. But, the Marines don't have that problem. [Ronald Reagan, U.S. President; 1985]
Marines I see as two breeds, Rottweilers or Dobermans, because Marines come in two varieties, big and mean, or skinny and mean. They're aggressive on the attack and tenacious on defense. They've got really short hair and they always go for the throat. [RAdm. "Jay" R. Stark, USN; 10 November 1995]
They told (us) to open up the Embassy, or "we'll blow you away." And then they looked up and saw the Marines on the roof with these really big guns, and they said in Somali, "Igaralli ahow," which means "Excuse me, I didn't mean it, my mistake." [Karen Aquilar, in the U.S. Embassy; Mogadishu, Somalia, 1991]
Ten quotations by U.S. Marines:
For over 221 years our Corps has done two things for this great Nation. We make Marines, and we win battles. [Gen. Charles C. Krulak, USMC (CMC); 5 May 1997]
Come on, you sons of bitches! Do you want to live forever? [GySgt. Daniel J. "Dan" Daly, USMC; near Lucy-`le-Bocage as he led the 5th Marines' attack into Belleau Wood, 6 June 1918]
Gone to Florida to fight the Indians. Will be back when the war is over. [Col. Archibald Henderson, USMC (CMC); in a note pinned to his office door, 1836]
Don't you forget that you're First Marines! Not all the communists in Hell can overrun you! [Col. Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller, USMC; rallying his First Marine Regiment near Chosin Reservoir, Korea, December 1950]
Marines die, that's what we're here for. But the Marine Corps lives forever. And that means YOU live forever. [the mythical GySgt. Hartman, USMC; portrayed by GySgt. R. Lee Ermey, a Marine Corps Drill Instructor using his own choice of words in Full Metal Jacket, 1987]
You'll never get a Purple Heart hiding in a foxhole! Follow me! [Capt. Henry P. Crowe, USMC; Guadalcanal, 13 January 1943]
We are United States Marines, and for two and a quarter centuries we have defined the standards of courage, esprit, and military prowess. [Gen. James L. Jones, USMC (CMC); 10 November 2000]
I have only two men out of my company and 20 out of some other company. We need support, but it is almost suicide to try to get it here as we are swept by machine gun fire and a constant barrage is on us. I have no one on my left and only a few on my right. I will hold. [1stLt. Clifton B. Cates, USMC; in Belleau Wood, 19 July 1918]
I love the Corps for those intangible possessions that cannot be issued: pride, honor, integrity, and being able to carry on the traditions for generations of warriors past. [Cpl. Jeff Sornig, USMC; in Navy Times, November 1994]
[FONT=Verdana,Sans-Serif]BROKAW BLOWS OFF THE MARINES[/FONT][FONT=Verdana,Sans-Serif]A GROUP of Marines is fighting mad at Tom Brokaw for going AWOL from the U.S. Marine Corps Ball and instead jetting off to a lavish dinner at the White House in honor of Prince Charles and Lady Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall.
The NBC anchor, whose brother was a Marine, agreed months ago to speak at Wednesday's ball at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum. But he ditched it at the last minute to hang with the royal couple at the D.C. shindig, which was also attended by President Bush, First Lady Laura Bush, former first ladies Barbara Bush and Nancy Reagan, Condoleezza Rice, D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.
Brokaw, who penned the acclaimed "The Greatest Generation," about the American war effort during WWII, tapped his NBC colleague Jon Siegenthaler to sub for him.
Sigenthaler opened his remarks by saying, "Let me tell you why I'm here. I got a call from Tom Brokaw the other day, and he asked me, 'Jon, Do you believe in free speech?' And I said that of course, I believed in free speech.
"So Tom said, 'Great, because I'm going to ask you to give a speech for free.' And then he explained that he'd agreed to emcee this event months before, but then he'd been invited to a dinner at the White House, and had been faced with a choice. Tom told me, 'Even my mother told me I was making the wrong choice.' " Harvey Keitel co-founded the ball nine years ago along with fellow Marine Gerry Byrne, the former publisher of Variety. They were among the hundreds of active duty and retired Marines who showed up to raise money for military charities. Also on hand were Keitel's pal Robert De Niro, Police Commissioner and ex-Marine Ray Kelly, Chelsea Clinton and former PAGE SIX editor and Korean War vet and author James Brady.
One lathered-up leatherneck who attended the ball fumed about Brokaw's no-show: "I suppose it's easier to get the glory for writing about military service than honoring those who perform it."
A rep for Brokaw tells PAGE SIX's Fernando Gil: "Mr. Brokaw worked it out with the event organizers well in advance, found a substitute and committed to being there next year." [/FONT]
Over the years I have heard that the Marines of today are not as tough and seasoned as those that fought in the Pacific, Korea or Vietnam.
To those of you that may give credence to such a comment I challenge you to go to Jacksonville North Carolina or Camp Pendeleton and look at the WARRIORS that are 18-25 years old. I have had the honor of sitting next to a 1st Lt traveling back to KOAJ who had taken a 12.7mm round to the femur.... miracle that his leg was not blow off.... he shared his experience of his Marines fighting amongst each other as to who was going to crawl out amidst the hail of bullets during the ambush to drag him back to safety. (1st Lt returned to full duty).
First hand witness of young Jarhead at the airport with patch over eye, huge scar on cranium and limp as he walked... just to have tear wretched from my eye as his Marine pals surged to welcome him back. Personally hauled Marines that volunteered to go back to Iraq early so that their pals could come home early to be with their families for Christmas. The United States is blessed with a new generation of Marines that have once again set the standard for courage, committment and dedication to God, Corps and Country.
For 230 years the Marine Corps has served with courage and will continue to serve with pride and distinction. God bless these Marines, God bless the Marine Corps and God bless the USA on this most special of days. As a Mustang I will be buried with my Iwo Jima sand and a silver dollar in my hand.