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Those Goddamn Marines By Lt. Col. David W. Szelowski USMCR

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  • Those Goddamn Marines By Lt. Col. David W. Szelowski USMCR

    Those Goddamn Marines By Lt. Col. David W. Szelowski USMCR (ret.) May 5,
    2003 01:02 PM

    I got this from an Army friend.

    I wonder how many times during Operation Iraqi Freedom that the phrase
    "Goddamn Marines" was uttered? Even in the best of times, Army and Air Force
    officers have been heard muttering some epithet about Marines, invoking
    either heaven or hell. Interestingly enough, we Marines find it all rather
    reassuring and, at times, amusing.

    Most of the time, Marines do not go out of our way to be obnoxious; we are
    just doing what Marines have done for over 200 years. A good example is the
    fact that Marines always raise the American flag over mountains or cities
    they ! have conquered. From Mt. Suribachi to the City of Hue, to Kuwait City
    to Baghdad, U.S. Marines have raised the Stars and Stripes -- in the latter
    examples, much to the chagrin of higher headquarters. You don't get these
    kinds of problems with the army.

    So what is it about the U.S. Marines that they stick U.S. flags on
    everything and do more with less, a less that is either old or an army
    hand-me-down? We call it Esprit de Corps , but it goes deeper than that. We
    learn and maintain myths of the past, which also means living up to those
    historical examples. Marine Corps boot camp is the longest of the services;
    it is where we mold young men and women into the mythical image called a
    Marine. You can be in the Army, you can join the Air Force, but you become a
    Marine. All of the other uniformed services have songs; the U.S. Marines
    have a hymn. The basic pattern of Marine Corps uniforms comes from the ! late
    nineteenth century; our emblem "the Eagle, Globe and Anchor" has remained
    largely unchanged since 1868. The buttons on our dress blues, whites and
    greens date back to the founding of our corps. The Marine Corps is the only
    service that requires its officers to carry a sword, whose pattern dates
    back to 1805.

    I think that the path of being a Marine was established long ago. On the 10
    th of November 1775, the Marine Corps was first a tavern.
    To this day, no matter where in the world, Marines celebrate the founding of
    our beloved Corps, much to the confusion of the other services.

    A few years ago, a congresswoman from Colorado felt that the Marine Corps
    was radical and extreme. She contended that the Marine Corps was not
    politically correct, nor did we seem to be part of the Department of
    Defense's transition to a "kinder and gentler" military. She was correct,
    and the Marine Corps took it as a compliment.

    But the proof is in the doing, and during Iraqi Freedom the Marines
    demonstrated what Marines can do. I watched with some amusement as a
    reporter asked a young lance corporal about being in Iraq and under rifle
    fire. "Love it, sir!" was his response. The reporter was taken aback and
    asked, "No, really." The Marine then tried to explain that this is what he
    was trained to do, he looked forward to doing it and was now happy to be
    doing it. No doubt in boot camp he was told that he was "a minister of death
    praying for war." Contrast that with the poor U.S. Army Apache pilots who
    said that if they had to take life, they would do so reluctantly. You are
    either a warrior or you are not.

    Marines are mission oriented. Live or die, the most important thing to a
    Marine is accomplishing the mission. Whether taking the bridge, river or
    town, accomplishing the mission is the Holy Grail of being a Marine. How the
    mission is accomplished is not so important, as it is expected of all
    Marines to accomplish the mission with the tools available. This is probably
    why we heard that Marines in one engagement were fighting with knives and
    bayonets. This was hardly high tech, but it was effective. These Marines now
    have bragging rights, for they have proven that they talk-the-talk and
    walk-the-walk. I doubt there is a single Marine who is not envious.

    Marines are practical, as well. I enjoyed hearing two reporters interviewing
    each other, one embedded with the army, the other with the Marines. The
    reporter with the army noted that the sandstorm had blown down many of the
    soldiers' cots. The other reporter countered that the Marines did not have
    this problem because they slept on the ground. The Marine learns to live
    with what he can carry on his back. He expects to be moved around on the
    battlefield via his two black Cadillacs (boots). If he is lucky and gets a
    ride on an amtrack, so much the better -- but it is not expected! . At the end
    of a mission, the priority for cleaning is weapon, then equipment, and
    finally, body. When the other services talk about "quality of life," they
    are referring to housing, clubs and food. Marines are talking about better
    weapons, equipment and training, winning the battle and coming home alive is
    considered "quality of life."

    All of this translates into combat power. In comparison to the U.S. Army's
    3 rd Infantry Division, the Marines of I Marine Expeditionary Force were
    lightly equipped. Yet, they battled through the heart of Iraq, fought to the
    center of Baghdad and then moved off to Tikrit, taking that city as well.
    The press was so enamored with the Marines that in the final days of the war
    they even credited the Marines with deeds actually accomplished by the army.
    Little wonder we heard "Goddamn Marines!" so often.

    So we need to give the Marines some slack when they do something politically
    incorrect, such as raising the flag or appearing insensitive when killing
    the enemy. In the field, they look sloppy compared to the army, but are
    aggressive in the attack and generally unhappy in the defense. Marines take
    pride in their work, even if that work is war.
    We are just Marines and that is what we do.

    Lt. Col. David W. Szelowski USMCR (ret.)
    Attached Files
    Semper Fidelis

    George T. Curtis

  • #2

    I wish I had said that. I am proud to be apart of our Brotherhood. As I think back, we were the same in Vietnam.

    Brook Stevenson
    9/'67 - 10/'68


    • #3

      !!!!!!!!SEMPER FIDELIS!!!!!!!!
      Semper Fi
      I'd rather fly than walk!
      Darrell Asplund


      • #4
        GD Marines!!

        The more things change, the more they stay the same! I LOVE it! My former C.O. sent me a copy of this! Never prouder!
        Semper Fi
        Semper Fidelis

        Phu Bai tower:
        YW-11 for Phu Bai DASC-
        Remember, These are "A" models!
        YW-11 BuNo-151939
        '65 Model CH-46A


        • #5
          ya see ,there are some things, e.g. a cowboy and his horse off in the mountains, riding a harley,a good shot from your faverite rifle,fishin',& being a MARINE, that if I have to explain to wouldn't understand. you guys know semper fi


          • #6
            Col D.W.Szelowski's post echoes our heart beats of our beloved Corps. I can still recall walking along one of the "outer" roads at Marble Mt and looking into the Army's hooches and seeing those wonderful big box bed springs that they slep on. I wondered then,"Ya know, I could have just as easily have joined the Army and had one of those nice beds to sleep in as it was when I joined the Marines." Continuing the walk I began to think of my dad who served in the 22nd Marines in WWII in Okinawa, and a half brother in the Marines at the Chosin Resivouir, I thought about the people that I knew in the Corps, the hard times and the great times. By the time I got to our line shack I was full of what no other service man could have except a Marine who knew he made the best choice to fight with. No frills, but the knowing that your incorporated with men and women ( nowaday) who you can count on to fight to their last breath. Our training has always made me feel that we were indeed the best. I have retired from 29 years of civilain work and durring all that time I have yet to see anyone get the steady training and qualified training that we received in the Corps. Nor the caliber of people who held any position in a standard as high as the Corps held for us.
            Yea, those beds look nice that afternoon, but I know I couldn't sleep in them peacefully as I did in that "old" cot among friends that I'd die for.
            Semper Fi to all who love the Corps and remember it as the best ever.
            jd "Falcon"
            ps. I got an e-mail this past winter about an Army officer heading a coluum in Irarain. The Marines had already gone trough and had left dead Iraqies all over the place. His comment was something like,"Those God damn Marines didn't leave us anything to kill." First to fight!
            "Life is tough. It's a lot tougher if your stupid." Sgt Stryker,"Sands of Iwo Jima"


            • #7
              The colonel's letter should make us all stand just a bit taller.

              Semper Fi!!