Friday, November 10, 2006

November 10th? You Know What That Means!

It’s the Marine Corps birthday, everyone. Time to celebrate a Marine, cheer up, and move on.

This Sunday, the 45th annual Marine Corps worship service will be at the National Presbyterian Church, 4101 Nebraska Avenue, NW.

And just to let you know it’s an official event, here are some “suggestions” from the Commandant on what to wear —

Uniform for active duty Marines is Dress Blue “B” with ribbons and no badges. Other services should wear their equivalent uniform; civilian dress is business suit.

Semper Fi, you guys…especially Chester, who posted the following description, by an anonymous Canadian:

Semper Fi!
“Marines are about the most peculiar breed of human beings I have ever witnessed. They treat their service as if it were some kind of cult, plastering their emblem on almost everything they own, making themselves up to look like insane fanatics with haircuts to ungentlemanly lengths, worshipping their Commandant almost as if he were a god, and making weird animal noises like a band of savages. They’ll fight like rabid dogs at the drop of a hat just for the sake of a little action, and are the cockiest sons of bitches I have ever known. Most have the foulest mouths and drink well beyond man’s normal limits, but their high spirits and sense of brotherhood set them apart and, generally speaking, the United States Marines I’ve come in contact with are the most professional soldiers and the finest men I have ever had the pleasure to meet.”

That’s quite an accurate summary, though it fails to catch the esprit de corps of those guys. “Sense of brotherhood” merely scratches the surface.

I don’t know what it’s like now, but way back when I was a Marine Corps wife, someone who was on active duty with the 82nd Airborne came to visit us on base. He was amazed that women walked freely about without fear of being attacked. He assured us that was not the case on the Army base where he served. Until he said that, it had never occurred to me exactly how secure a Marine Corps base really was.

I loved the Marine Corps. Still do. There is some similarity between being a Catholic and being a Marine. No matter how long ago those events were, no matter what may have happened in the intervening years, on November 10th, you remember. For a brief day, you still belong. Kind of like showing up for Midnight Mass...and remembering the magic of the bells.

So Happy 231st, jarheads! Long may you reign.


Papa Ray said...

Long ago and far away, we had a little problem. We needed to get the hell out of dodge and none of the Army's helos were available. It seems most had got the #$#$# shot out of them.

There happened to be a Marine helo (one of them great big SOBs) that hear our call and calmly asked if he could "come and get those doggies?" He got the ok and switched to our freq. and asked us about our location. We told him our grid and he said when we saw him good to pop smoke. We told him that he couldn't land and to drop ropes. He came over our AO and saw our smoke.

We were on an outcropping, (more like a small ledge)on the top of a pretty good size hill, (it would be called a mountain in Texas) and we thought he was just going to drop ropes.

Instead he swiviled and dropped that big ol' bird where that the back ramp was sitting right on the edge of the outcrop.

I never...ever...was more impressed by anyone's flying than I was that day.

The Crew Chief was waiting at the ramp and said something to the effect- "Get your #$%$@#$%@ asses on this thing, we ain't got all !#$%&** day."

We beat it out of there and heard the ping,pings of small arms fire hitting the chopper. The Crew Chief asked something like, " Were you !@#&*$&^% expecting company?" I told him that we had been chased by at least a company of NVA all day.

He looked at the 6 of us and said, "It's a good !!@#%$^ thing they didn't catch you".

We all thanked them profusely, promised whiskey, our sisters, (I didn't have one) and our undying love for the Marine Corp.

Those are the only Jarheads that I have met face to face. But I will remember them (and can remember them) for what they did on that day.

Papa Ray

Nate said...

Thanks, Dymphna, for the tribute to the fighters on my flank. The birthday of my beloved Corps is tied with Thanksgiving as my favorite day of the year. My wife didn't make a cake for my birthday (which happens to be 11 September), but she made one for today. She knows how important it is.

If you do nothing else to celebrate today, please pick up a copy of the Constitution and give it a read. That's what we defend.

And think about your family. That's why we fight.

Semper Fidelis by Brothers.

Dymphna said...

Papa Ray--

The Army is still, after all these years, looking for a slogan. It's something weirder this year than even the last one was...the latter being something about "an Army of One"...right. What dope in the Building thought *that* one up?? Being an individualist is a good way to get killed.

You're right about their language, though. Of course, I didn't hear much of it, but their lingo was laced with it. When I heard some flight mechanic talk about a "fire warning bitch" I thought it was some form of unfriendly woman. And then I thought it was an airplane part. Finally, someone took pity on my denseness and explained that a "fire warning" bitch is some kind of problem with the fire warning light or device on the airplane. Duh...

Hey, Eagle Smitten. Just change your birthday to Nov.14th. 9/11 is a most awkward thing to celebrate, even if it is your own birth date. November 10th is *much* better. Have a christening ceremony or something. Give yourself the middle name "Semperfideles" -- do it up big.

My first son, born on the Marine base, missed it by four days: Nov 14th. Back then the Navy corpsmen took care of all the post-natal cases. I really likekd my guy and we got to talking -- turned out he was from Brooklyn and had been in the elementary school were my aunt, a Fransciscan nun, was the principal. He gave me instructions to apologize to her for having to be sent to the office so much and to let her know he turned out okay.

I wrote her when I got home -- I've long since forgotten his name, except that it was Italian -- and told her what he said. She wrote back and told me she never worried about him -- always knew he had "spirit" and would be fine. It's the quiet ones you never see that worried *her.*

Some months later, I ran into him in the PX one day and told him what Mother Superior had said. He absolutely beamed. I also let him in on a family secret -- growing up Sister's family nickname had been "Dodo" -- guess we all have things to overcome. She not only overcame, she triumphed.

Come to think of it, that woman would've made a good Marine. Tough, compassionate, loyal, and obedient to orders. Well, the language barrier might have been a problem.

Next year, if I'm still around, I'll tell you my favorite boot camp story. Of course, any jarhead could top it, but all these years later, it still makes me laugh.

Anonymous said...

I worked closely with the US Marines when I was a crewmember onboard USS Charleston (LKA-113) based out of Norfolk VA. We had a few of their Radiomen in our shack with us and we helped them manage their circuits. We were over in the Med and I had volunteered to hit the beach in Turkey with the Marines and had a blast. Marines are a bunch of good people. My experience completely set aside the supposed rivalry that runs between the Navy and Marine Corps.

Anonymous said...

My father was a Navy aviator in World War II. His air station in the Aleutians was protected by the Marines. In the most fowl weather imaginable, they would be in their holes, manning the AA.

Dad always said, "If the Japs come back, I wanted to be in a hole with them."

Semper Fi.

Don Miguel said...

Semper Fi to all Marines except for "Semper I" John Murtha.


The Army does have a new campaign that was released yesterday. They finally dumped the ridiculous "Army of One." You can see the new video over at BlackFive:

Pierre said...

Just finished a post linked to this fine effort. I am a little angry...heh.

Happy Birthday Marines, one group of Americans who haven’t turned into a bunch of sniveling cowards. May god help the rest of us.

James Higham said...

Very big day next day for us over here - Armistice Day [11th]and you guys are in this too [Wilson's 14 points].

Claire said...

I'm not understanding the part about women getting attacked on Army bases? They do?

Gryffilion said...

I have never met a Marine that wasn't excellent company, especially when liquor was involved. God bless the Corps.

"Remember--you can give your heart to Jesus, but your @$$ belongs to the Corps!" -Full Metal Jacket

Gryffilion said...

By the way--I have put forth my view that in a generation or so the Marine Corps is going to resemble the Mobile Infantry from the excellent book "Starship Troopers" (NOT that excrescense of a movie), when considering their flexibility, reliance on mobility and keeping on the move, and their hard-hitting assault tactics. (I wouldn't be surprised if the "everybody fights" credo was worked into their ethos before too long.) Anyone else have any ideas about this?