Tuesday, September 30, 2003


5 November 2003

MILINET: The Stopping Power Myth

By: Mr. Bruce L. Jones

Inland Empire Mensa
copyright - 1994 & 1997

I am about to commit ballistic heresy. I suppose this admission
shouldn't be taken lightly, but feeling my steadily advancing years I am
too old to begin being a hypocrite at this stage of the game. I should
mention that some people I know consider me sane the majority of the
time, but the jury is still out.

I have been reading material written by very earnest people (grandaddy
was named Earnest) for at least thirty years arguing the relative merits
of one size pistol cartridge over another. The argument seems to center
around whether or not someone's favorite caliber will put an end to the
violent and sometimes maniacal attack of one of society's more
disenchanting creatures.

The theory de jure in today's glossier periodicals was developed by a
very sincere man named Evan Marshall who possibly has a pathological
need to help old ladies cross the street. I am not sure where he
acquired this pathogen but keep a firm grip on granny. Because of this
tendency, I feel certain that Mr. Marshall is one sterling fellow. I
would probably feel proud to call him a friend. Also, to his credit, he
comes very close to disavowing any belief in his own theory, stating in
his first book (which he would be happy to sell you) that the most
important component of stopping power is shot placement; but we'll get
to that later.

In his second book, Mr. Marshall - I am told - elaborates on the first
book to a large degree. I have yet to read it. I read the first through
an inter-library loan. The charge for an ILL then was only a quarter. In
their constant search to provide better service, my library has since
hiked the price for an ILL to three bucks. When my curiosity to read
book two of the same stuff contained in book one reaches a three buck
threshold, I'll get it on ILL, too. Until then I am blissfully content
to remain ignorant of the majority of it's contents.

Later on, we will get to a phenomenon of ballistics that no one else
considers; else referring to me. If you are a bright and inquisitive
kind of person, you will then want to find ways to run out and test the
information for yourself. For those somewhat less inquisitive, I'll give
you a method to use that you can do "for free". We will also include
some science of the absurd.

Sabers drawn, we enter the fray. There are two problems I have with
Marshall's basics. 1) His theory. 2) His data. Having said that, let us

Mr. Marshall arbitrarily chose to include data in his findings from
incidents wherein there was only a single fired round solidly striking
the torso. What? How's that? Gee, this - of course - leaves out all
other data. The problem here is that this excludes the majority of the
available information. The kind of data missed in this method is - e.g.
- the first shot fired, the second and subsequent shots fired, if any;
and the reasons for multiple shots being fired. I am not sure if there
are more tidbits being left out, but it seemed to me the first two
considerations should be: "how many shots were fired" and "why were they
fired". The total effect of all of this missing data is not fully

Now, it may be considered academic to exclude first shot misses (I don't
think so) but multiple pops should definitely be counted because the
first shot failed to accomplish the goal, as we will demonstrate. This
omission tends to make some products look better than they actually are.
In some circles this could be said to be deliberately misleading.
Everyone who wishes to be misled about the efficiency of their last
resort personal life saving device, raise your hand. What, none? I
didn't think so.

To take a close look at what I am talking about, lets look at some
make-believe data and some easy to crunch numbers. Lets say that data
collected for the .32 caliber had shown, under Marshall's method, 200
incidents where someone was solidly hit in the torso. Of those, 100 of
the people were hit only once. These were counted, the remainder
excluded (left 100 running amuck, I suppose). Thus, 100 single hits of
200 opportunities occurred and in 50 of those single shots the bad guy
surrendered. This equates to a 50 percent probability of a one-shot
stop. "Probability" is a word I am not crazy about were my life to be at
stake, but we'll get to that later, too.

Well, let's say that the 100 incidents were excluded from the data above
because they were multiple hits to the torso. Let's say, further, that
of those, 75 of the follow-up shots were fired because the first one
didn't phase the attacker (the other twenty-five were just double-tap
advocates). I call this a "failure to stop". This data should be
included. Why, you might ask (if you don't ask the article kinda stops

Well, if this data is included with the rest then the actual stops are
really 50 out of 175, not 50 of 100. This lowers the "probability" a
considerable degree; to less than 29 percent. By following his method,
Mr. Marshall inadvertently made poor performance appear much better. If
one did not know better, one might wonder if Mr. Marshall owned stock in
Seecamp. If he ever reads this I hope he knows I'm just kidding.

Of course, the better a cartridge performed, the less this particular
phenomena affected their respective data. But, the data are still
skewed. The best calibers still come out on top as the best performers,
but where is the "real data" in the noise? The problem with this last
statement is: it is true. The effect, however, is that it still leaves
in question just where this phantom line of separation lies between the
poor performers who have been accidentally made to look good and the
truly good performers that would actually enhance the probability of a stop.

For a minute, let's stop and consider the term "probability of a stop"
as used in Marshall's context. Few people understand "probability" in
it's actual sense. A reasonable person would look at the above data and,
if he carried a .32, would say, "Well, if the stop probability is 50%,
I'll just shoot him twice and it will be 100%." Wrong. That's "real
world math" not "math-math". With the rules for probabilities
(math-math) you can never get to 100 percent. Huh? What was that? I'll

If the .32 shows a 50 percent probability of a one-shot stop (sure it
does), then the first shot should stop half of the bad guys, half of the
time. The second shot should stop half of the rest of those that didn't
fall the first time; this makes only 75 percent! The third shot should
stop 50 percent of whoever's still standing hefting the total up to
grand 87.5 percent. And so-on and so-on. Using this method, we need
about four rounds from the .32 right off the top to approach what
Marshall states is the probability for a single round from a .357
magnum. Thus, reality is much more dismal that the bare numbers make it
seem. This becomes immediately worse if one starts with the more abysmal
29 percent rating developed from the multiple hit data.

Now for some fun.

All of this notwithstanding I have another major problem when
considering the data from Marshall's book. Put in the simplest terms,
the data base has no way of correlating the extent - or even if - the
skill of the individual shooter plays in the equation. Considering that
shot placement is the single most important factor in accomplishing a
ballistically inspired stop, the relative skill of the shooters must be
considered if one uses actual "street" data. If you do not, it would
tend to invalidate all of the data. I'll show how.

An example of what I am talking about can be demonstrated with some more
fictional data.

Lets suppose that we create two teams of shooters that will be exposed
to the need for expressing lethal force with a handgun.

The first team, let's call them Team 1, is comprised of 5 ft. tall, 100
lb., 80 year old great-grandpa's with no firearms training other than
basic instruction in how to fire the weapon. We assume that they can see
well enough to acquire the rear sight and have enough physical strength
to eventually pull the trigger with one or more fingers. We are not
entirely sure, they have never fired the weapon. They are armed with the
new H&K Mk. 23 Mod. 0 .45ACP SOCOM semi-automatic pistols loaded with
hardball ammo and carried in their bathrobe pockets. They carry Bugs
Bunny flashlights that their great-grand-kids left during their last
visit. To turn them on (no, the flashlights!), you have to push the
switch forward and bang the side of the lens bezel simultaneously.

The second team, let's call them Team 2, is made up of tall, well
muscled, young female clones of Gina Davis' character in "The Long Kiss
Goodnight". You know, your basic spy/ para-military types with 20-20
vision, each of whom can bench-press a Buick and are completely
impervious to pain. They are all highly practiced and trained;
experienced veteran combat shooters. They are armed with .22LR S&W Model
63 revolvers with the standard 4 -inch barrels and Aim Point Red Dots.
These are loaded with Stinger hollowpoints and carried in tactical
holsters strapped over skin-tight stretch-pants. They shun upper-body
tactical armor with hard panel inserts in favor of Versace t-shirts and
helmets with night and thermal sights built-in.

Now we send both teams onto the street in any of America's more blighted
urban centers on a typical weekend with instructions to secure their
respective areas. Naturally, they both have an unlimited supply of
ammunition and batteries.

Team 1 is involved in 40 incidents. They were able to actually discharge
their weapons in 27 of them. A remarkable 22 actually hit their targets.
Of these, 20 were torso hits; primarily love-handle perforations. They
experienced a total of 5 one-shot stops, all fired in their team's
classic stance; eyes closed with the weak side index finger in the
weak-side ear and the index and middle finger of the strong hand on the
trigger. Range averaged about 40 yards. A total of 27 rounds of
ammunition was expended.

Team 2, on the other hand, also had 40 incidents - in the first hour.
Each was a one- shot stop to the brain-case of the perpetrators. In each
instance the range was approximately 2 yards and firing was from the
isosceles stance. Having frightened off all other inhabitants in their
area they spent the remainder of the weekend target practicing on urban
self-propelled high-mobility targets (rats, dogs and cats). Team 2
expended a total of 3000 rounds of ammunition.

By the above example we can see that what everyone already knows is
proven beyond a doubt. The lowly .45 ACP is only a 25 percent one-shot
stopper and the amazingly effective .22 LR is a 100 percent one-shot

Now, I don't know about you, but if Team 2 does that good with .22
caliber revolvers, then I'm gonna run right out and buy a Ruger auto
pistol with a politically correct 10 round capacity so that I can be
perfectly protected against at least 10 bad-guys, right? And the H&K,
forget that. Who would want such an abysmal performer?

The examples provided by the experiences of teams one and two serve to
illustrate the importance of the skill, training and physical
capabilities of the shooter in the stopping power debate. These are
perhaps the most important factors of all.

At this point I ask myself, "Is there anything left out". Well, some
other fine folks like to ponder the effects of mass versus energy. I
think the eventual outcome is probably similar to the stopping power
index Marshall developed. I do know that one factor is observed and
seldom measured. For lack of a better term, I like to think of it as a
"radial pressure wave". This radial pressure wave is a very real
phenomenon that is characterized by a "wave" or cyclic series of
pressure that is radially dispersed from the point of ballistic impact,
perpendicular to the path of projectile trajectory. I first thought of
it hunting feral hogs.

I happened upon a particularly corpulent porker one day and placed a
solid hit with a large magnum caliber projectile just behind his front
shoulder. I also noticed that, almost immediately, a cloud of dust flew
off his back, as if he had given a mighty shudder. I don't think he
shuddered though as he just looked at me through his one-side eye as if
to say, "Huh?". He was unimpressed. He turned to look at me, then fell
over dead. I wondered about the dust cloud though, and sort of mentally
filed it away. Some years later, it would resurface in an unexpected way.

Fast forward to the Viet Nam war. Near the end of the war ( having
served my time) I was working - at the time - in an Army Depot helping
to assess battle damage of equipment that returned from the zone. There
I stood one fine afternoon surveying the side of a shelter (for
non-military types this is a camper-like box used in military trucks to
house all manner of portable facilities). There was a large impact hole
through-and-through the side. I was observing the entry side. The hole
was probably the result of a dud artillery shell that passed through
without exploding. It was large enough to stick my hand through,
probably made by about a 75mm. What caught my attention was the damage
caused by the impact. There was, for sure, the hole. But what was
different was that the entire aluminum skin was rippled and many of the
rivets that held it to the frame around the edges were popped loose. I
immediately thought the damage caused by some time of ripple effect
radiating from the center of impact.

When the skin was finally peeled back from the side of the shelter, some
of the interior ribs also had partial ripples and buckles radiating
outward from the center of impact. The damage was much more than what
would have been expected from just the material being displaced from the
path of the projectile. I began to ponder other examples I had seen of
this and I remembered my hog years before. Now I see the effects of this
pressure wave in almost every ballistic impact I examine (some materials
are so resilient it isn't observed). It is also three dimensional. It
travels forward along with the projectile. It is coincident with the
sound wave, but is more. The addenda is that pressure is increased
proportionately to the velocity and mass of the projectile. The
frequency of the pressure wave also fluctuates with changes in velocity
and mass. The frequency of the pressure wave is also altered by the
specific gravity of the object being struck. Material of differing
densities resonate at differing frequencies in response to the pressure

All of the ballistic test media used by modern researchers shows the
effects of this pressure. Water, wet newsprint, phone books, sacks of
flour, melons and the standby ballistic gelatin all reveal it. The
observable after-effect is now called the "crush cavity", either
temporary or permanent. The crush-cavity is only the after effect.
Radial Pressure Wave is the cause. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to
figure it out. If one looks at the crush cavity in ballistic gelatin
what you are observing is the physical evidence left behind by the
pressure wave traveling through the material.

If you want to ponder the effect and waste a little time here's what you do:

Gather up two sacks of pebbles. One sack should contain pebbles of
approximately a quarter inch in diameter. The other sack should contain
pebbles of about three-quarters of an inch in diameter. Don't be too
picky, size doesn't matter all that much. Retire to your favorite
swimming hole with appropriate refreshments and make yourself
comfortable. Drop one small pebble into the test media (the water) and
observe the ripples that evenly radiate outward from the center of
impact of your projectile (the pebble). This is the pressure wave.

Now repeat this procedure with one large pebble. Notice that the
resultant wave has a different appearance, or "signature" than the waves
created by the first pebble. Repeat this procedure, alternating between
large and small pebbles. Observe that with the different size pebbles
the height and distance between the little waves that they cause is
different with each, yet consistent among like-size pebbles. This is the
observable frequency of the pressure wave.

Now vary the experiment. Launch more pebbles downward, still alternating
size, but increase the introductory velocity by increasing the launch
momentum (throw them harder). As you do so, you will notice that the
frequency signature of the pressure waves change in a dramatic and
noticeable manner. They become higher and closer together. The pressure
waves also move through the test media with a noticeably greater
velocity between frequency spikes.

If you have chosen your refreshments carefully, after a while you will
be able to accurately predict the effect of the introduced projectiles
on the test media and the frequency of the pressure wave that will
result by varying the size of the projectile and the launch velocity.

Now, most people would be satisfied at this point. But, if you want to
pretend to be a scientist you can conjure up ways to test this
phenomenon even further. First, begin by varying the specific gravity of
the test media. Gradually increase the density. When the media becomes
dense enough to stand without support, stand it on it's side and place
pressure sensors all around it and feed the data they obtain into a
computer. The main problem with this is that the media will eventually
become too dense for you to penetrate by just throwing the pebbles by
hand. You may want to devise some kind of pyrotechnic-like method for
launching the pebbles so that they will penetrate the test media. In
fact, you may eventually want to switch from pebbles to something else.
Perhaps small, metallic pellet-like objects.

What might be gained from this? Well, if enough experimenting is done,
you may eventually discover that an optimal destructive pressure wave
exists for any given test media that induces some kind of sympathetic
resonance with only a certain mass and velocity of projectile. Or not. I
might conduct the research myself someday if I can find a benefactor to
fund it. Imagine, I could discover the perfect mass and velocity of
projectile that would create a pressure wave that would be 100%
effective in stopping an attacker. Or, I could find a hand gun I can
shoot well and practice, practice, practice.


This is...
Gunny G's...
Sites & Forums

By R.W. "Dick" Gaines
GySgt USMC (Ret.)

Sunday, September 21, 2003


TJC home to war veterans' project

By Shalina Ramirez - Progress News Writer

They write of yearnings to be reunited with the loves they left behind.

They speak of a sense of community developed between strangers, joined together under some of the most harsh conditions to support a common cause.

And they relive the memories of experiences taken place on foreign soil.

Tomorrow, Americans across the country will once again band together to honor them for their dedication and willingness to risk life and limb.

They are the Veterans of War.

"I was wounded almost immediately," said Jacksonville resident and World War II veteran Hugh Neeld.

It was May, 1945, and the war in the Pacific was drawing to a close.

Neeld, then 16, had dropped out of high school and joined the Navy.

"All the young fellows at that age were anxious to get in," he said. "We all wanted to be a part of something important, and of course we were."

Neeld was assigned sea duty and shipped out immediately aboard the U.S.S. Indra, a small auxiliary repair ship, which was en route across the Pacific to join a fleet off the coast of Okinawa.

"The morning of May 11, there was a kamikaze attack," he said in a written statement. "I was frantically passing clips of shells to Bobby [Bowman, a crewman from Beaumont, TX] when something hit my helmet with enough force to knock me off my feet. My ears were ringing. I couldn't focus my eyes.

"Blood on my life jacket told me I'd been hit. From what seemed a great distance, I could hear people screaming for a Medic. Then I passed out.'

The carrier Bunker Hill, the ship which the U.S.S. Indra was closest too, had been hit by two kamikazes and a piece of shrapnel from the explosion had gotten inside his helmet, Neeld said.

"I had a bad scalp laceration," he said. "Bobby got hit too, but his injury, like mine, was minor."

Both men were taken by a small boat to the hospital ship, Hope, anchored outside the battle zone, Neeld said.

"I spent most of the time on board a ship in a hospital," he said. "Then that fall, they dropped the atom bomb and the war was over."

Never Forgetting

Neeld's experience is just one of dozens of war stories recently collected and video taped by Tyler Junior College to be contributed to a national archive maintained by the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.

The archive, known as the Veterans History Project, was created in October 2000 as a means of chronicling the stories and memories of America's war veterans before the opportunity passes.

"There are 19 million war veterans living in the United States today, but every day we lose 1,700 of them," the project's Web site stated.

The Veterans History Project records experiences from World War I, World War II, and the Korean, Vietnam, and Persian Gulf wars. It includes all participants in those wars - men and women, civilian and military.

The project also documents the contributions of civilian volunteers, support staff, and war industry workers as well as the experiences of military personnel from all ranks and all branches of service, including the Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, and Navy, U.S. Coast Guard and Merchant Marine.

Currently, more than 800 VHP partners across the country, including TJC, are helping to recorded stories and memories of war veterans.

TJC, through it's Seniors College division of its School of Continuing Studies, announced its plans to participate in the national effort last spring, but wanted to focused squarely on veterans.

"There are many veteran throughout East Texas and their storied and life experiences are a treasure we must not let slip away," Bobbye Rucker, TJC Seniors college coordinator, said in a released statement.

The college's interviews began Sept. 8 and concluded Oct. 10.

Neeld was among the more than 100 area veterans to visit the college.

"I think it's, number one, was a great idea," he said. "I was proud to participate in it."

Interviewees who participated in the TJC project will also be honored during a, "Tribute to Veterans," ceremony scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Wise Auditorium on the college campus, located on Mahon Avenue.

"The public is invited to join us as we recognize veterans who have served in World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam war and Desert Storm," Rucker said. "We appreciate the service of the veterans, and we are grateful that so many of them have shared their memories with us and recorded them for the history project."

Neeld said he is looking forward to the ceremony and meeting other veterans who too part in the project.

"We're looking forward to a good turnout," he said. "Of course, it will be nice to be recognized."

Fred Peters, TJC's director of marketing and public information, said the video taped interviews will be submitted to the Library of Congress following the ceremony.

"The stories of these men and women are incredible," Rucker said. "This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for memories to be open to the world and for posterity."

Those wanting more about the Veterans History Project can visit HERE!!!!!. To read or listen to submitted stories or experiences, visit HERE!!!!!.

Shalina Ramirez may be reached via email to citybeat@jacksonvilleprogress.com.

Copyright © 2003 Jacksonville Daily Progress
This is...
Gunny G's...
Marines Sites & Forums

By R.W. "Dick" Gaines
GySgt USMC (Ret.)
Semper Fidelis

Saturday, September 20, 2003


20th Century Heroes

Liberty’s Steamroller
by William Norman Grigg

A cultured, perceptive man of principle, General George S. Patton fought for freedom as one of America’s greatest military geniuses.

O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee; my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary....

My soul followeth hard after thee. Thy right hand upholdeth me. But those that seek my soul, to destroy it, shall go into the lower parts of the earth. They shall fall by the sword.... But the king shall rejoice in God; every one that sweareth by him shall glory, but the mouth of them that speak lies shall be stopped.

— From Psalm 63
General Patton’s favorite Bible verse

20th Century Heroes - $29.95

The popular "20th Century Heroes" series from THE NEW AMERICAN has been compiled into a handsome hardcover volume! Profiling 25 individuals from different lands and different fields of endeavor, all fought for freedom and made significant contributions to the cause of liberty. Containing more than 175 stunning illustrations and oversized at 11 ¼" x 8 5/8", this beautiful book brings to life the tremendous character, noble traits, and inextinguishable spirit found in each of the profiled heroes. A perfect gift item! (2000, 208pp, hb) [Order] [View Cart/Checkout]

‘‘Piety" is not a word commonly associated with the memory of General George S. Patton, also known as "Old Blood and Guts" — a man quite properly regarded as the embodiment of America’s martial tradition. The late George C. Scott’s Oscar-winning film portrayal of Patton, which was as much caricature as tribute, has immortalized the general as a human juggernaut to whom everything, including worship, was subordinated to an all-consuming passion for war. But as his posthumously published memoir War As I Knew It documents, Patton was a cultured and perceptive man of principle for whom war was a means of protecting freedom.

Although his granite-willed determination to destroy the enemy’s capacity for warfare is well known, Patton’s capacity for melancholy reflection upon war’s ugliness is not. Upon arriving in Normandy, Patton noted in his journal that he attended a Field Mass "where all of us were armed. As we knelt in the mud in the slight drizzle, we could distinctly hear the roar of the guns, and the whole sky was filled with airplanes on their missions of destruction … quite at variance with the teachings of the religion we were practicing."

George Gosselin, a much-decorated veteran of Patton’s army, observed that while the general was a "taskmaster" who demanded exemplary order and discipline within the ranks, he was also a man of profound and sincere faith. It should not be forgotten, wrote Gosselin, that "this man, who was so hard on himself and others, was totally soft on God." "I am a strong believer in prayer," declared General Patton on one occasion. "There are three ways that men get what they want: by planning, by working, and by praying. Any great military operation takes careful planning. Then you must have well trained troops to carry it out. But between the plan and the operation there is always the unknown. That unknown spells success or failure. Some people call that getting the breaks; I call it God. God has His part or margin in everything. That’s where prayer comes in."

As a believer, Patton’s God was Christ, not Mars. As a master strategist given to fits of tactical genius he couldn’t explain, Patton understood the need for focused ruthlessness in confronting an insurgent foe; as a Christian, he understood and practiced the virtue of mercy in dealing with a conquered enemy. These complementary aspects of Patton’s personality were on display during an interview with the Vicar of Sicily after Patton’s forces routed the Italian Army. "I assured him," wrote Patton, "that I was amazed at the stupidity and gallantry of the Italian Army; stupid, because they were fighting for a lost cause, and gallant, because they were Italians." Patton asked the Vicar to call upon the Italians to surrender in order to prevent needless bloodshed. "As a matter of fact," wrote Patton, "I called off the air and naval bombardments we had arranged, because I felt enough people had been killed, and felt that with the drive of the 2nd Armored Division we could take the place without inflicting unproductive losses on the enemy."

On another occasion, Patton referred reproachfully to what he called "the seemingly barbaric bombardment of the centers of cities" during the war, a practice that did not comport with Patton’s sense of martial chivalry and the moral principles of just warfare. "Kill all the Germans you can," urged the general during the Third Army’s unprecedented drive across Europe, "but do not put them up against a wall and kill them. Do your killing while they are still fighting. After a man has surrendered, he should be treated exactly in accordance with the Rules of Land Warfare, and just as you would hope to be treated if you were foolish enough to surrender. Americans do not kick people in the teeth after they are down."

George Smith Patton was born in California in 1885, and at the age of five he informed his parents of his intention of becoming a "great general." "When he learned to read, the first book he bought was a history of decisive battles," recounted Colonel Robert S. Allen in Lucky Forward, his memoir of serving in Patton’s Third Army. "In school he was always organizing sham battles. On his honeymoon in France, he took his young bride to historic battlefields and fortresses. Later, when stationed in Hawaii, he and his wife and young children would stage assault landings while on sailing trips. Even when playing his beloved polo, and fox hunting, he played at war." Patton received his Cavalry commission in 1909. After representing the U.S. at the 1912 Olympic Games, Patton took part in General John J. Pershing’s punitive raid into Mexico in 1916. Pershing took Patton to France in 1917 as a staff captain, and Patton finished World War I as a commander of a tank brigade.

During a mere 13 months of combat command in World War II — a little more than a month in northern Africa, 38 days in Sicily, 318 days in north-west Europe — Patton gradually showed himself to be America’s greatest fighting general. Under his command, the Third Army killed or captured 1.4 million soldiers of the Third Reich, while enduring the lowest casualty rate of any Allied army in the European Theater of Operations (ETO). A strategic assessment of Allied generals compiled by the German Oberkommando Herres (high command) described Patton as "the most modern, and the only, master of the offensive" among Allied commanders: "Patton is the most dangerous general on all fronts. The tactics of other generals are known and countermeasures can be effected against them. Patton’s tactics are daring and unpredictable. He fights not only the troops opposing him, but the Reich."

This ironic tribute from Patton’s enemies is made more ironic still in light of the post-war smear campaign, mounted by Soviet sympathizers in the press and acted upon by a pro-Soviet political establishment, depicting the general as a covert Nazi sympathizer. "It is not an exaggeration to state that Patton fought two wars in the ETO: one against the enemy and one against higher authorities for the opportunity to fight the enemy," notes Colonel Allen. After Germany surrendered on May 7, 1945, Patton realized that our Soviet "allies" — who had begun the war as co-aggressors with National Socialist Germany — were in fact our enemy, and he urged his superiors to evict the Soviets from central and eastern Europe.

In a conversation with then-Undersecretary of War Robert P. Patterson that took place in Austria shortly after the Nazi surrender, Patton complained that the "point system" being used to de-mobilize Third Army troops was destroying the Third Army, and creating a vacuum that the Soviets would exploit. "Mr. Secretary, for God’s sake, when you go home, stop this point system; stop breaking up these armies," pleaded the general. "Let’s keep our boots polished, bayonets sharpened, and present a picture of force and strength to these people [the Soviets]. This is the only language they understand." Asked by Patterson — who would become Secretary of War a few months later — what he would do, Patton replied: "I would have you tell the [Red Army] where their border is, and give them a limited time to get back across. Warn them that if they fail to do so, we will push them back across it."

Patton knew that the Red Army was weak, under-supplied, and vulnerable, and that if Europe were to be freed from totalitarian despotism, the West would have to act before the Soviets consolidated their position. "Oh George," came the condescending reply from Patterson, "you … have lost sight of the big picture."

That "big picture," as leftist historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr. explained in the July/August 1995 issue of Foreign Affairs, "was to commit the United States to postwar international structures before [victory] … could return the nation to its old habits." In order to keep our nation entangled in the growing network of international bodies, a credible foreign menace was needed, and the Soviets were perfectly cast in the part. "It is to Joseph Stalin that Americans owe the 40-year suppression of the isolationist impulse," wrote Schlesinger with approval.

Had Patton been permitted to drive the Soviets from Europe, millions of people would have been spared decades of abject oppression, and the criminal elite that continues to dominate most of eastern and central Europe might never have come to power. Patton understood, and warned his superiors, that if the Soviets were allowed to consolidate their grip, "we have failed the liberation of Europe; we have lost the war!" Patton, an honorable and patriotic man, was apparently unable to accept the fact that while he and his soldiers fought to liberate their fellow men from tyranny, those above him in policy-making positions were seeking to control the world, not to emancipate it. Thus Patton was traduced in the servile press as a covert "Nazi sympathizer" and stripped of his command shortly before his fatal automobile accident on December 9, 1945.

Patton "was a man who trained and disciplined his mind and body nearly every day of his life for the role he had always known he was to play," recorded Patton’s nephew, Fred Ayer, Jr., in his book Before the Colors Fade: Portrait of a Soldier. "[He was] a man who believed in the aristocracy of achievement and in the sanctity of his country’s course. He was conceited, sometimes ruthless, often inconsiderate and outwardly very, very tough. He was often too much the impetuous showman and yet a deep and careful thinker. But he was also magnificently well-read, deeply religious, softhearted, emotional and easily moved to tears."

It is quite likely that Patton possessed the finest military mind our nation ever produced, and that mind was the result of a deep and expansive study of history. "Papa always told me that the thing was to be a good soldier," recalled the general. "Next was to be a good scholar." It was Patton’s scholarly exertions that made his soldierly exploits possible. "To be a successful soldier you must know history," Patton advised in War As I Knew It. "Read it objectively. Dates and even the minute details of tactics are useless. What you must know is how man reacts. Weapons change, but man who uses them changes not at all.... To win battles you do not beat weapons — you beat the soul of man, of the enemy man." Because he was a diligent student of the past, noted Ayer, Patton "would accurately be able to foretell much of the future."

Not only was Patton an omnivorous reader, he was blessed with uncanny powers of retention, and could quote extensively from nearly anything he read — the Bible, military history, Shakespeare, even the Koran (which he read as preparation for his arrival in northern Africa). While Patton was stationed in Hawaii as a colonel, he maintained a personal library containing hundreds of books — histories, biographies, memoirs, and political works — nearly all of which had been read and annotated with margin notes.

His preternatural gifts of retention and recall proved indispensable during the Third Army’s mad dash across Europe. "He collected maps the way some men do art treasures," recalls Colonel Allen. "He knew the entire road net of France and Germany by memory, and the details of every major battlefield." Before his arrival in Normandy, Patton devoured Douglas Southall Freeman’s The Norman Conquest, paying particular attention to the roads used by William the Conqueror during his campaigns in Normandy and Brittany almost nine centuries earlier. Using those ancient roads, explained Patton, provided his army with valuable avenues of attack "when the enemy resorts, as he always does, to demolition."

Patton’s diligent study of military history could have spared our nation one of its most painful defeats, had Patton’s superiors been willing to listen to him. In 1937, during his assignment in Hawaii, then-Colonel Patton composed a detailed report predicting, in unsettling detail, the sneak attack by Japan against Pearl Harbor four years later. Taking note of the fact that Japan’s 1904 sneak attack upon Russian forces at Port Arthur began the victorious campaign in that war, Patton warned that "an attack like that is perfectly feasible if we’re off guard.... They haven’t forgotten how well it worked." Patton’s astute assessment, if followed, may have saved countless American lives, but his superiors had a different agenda. "I turned [the report] in to the ranking naval officer of the command and he just put it in his safe," Patton recalled later. "Nobody else had the combination except his own houseboy, [who] was, of course, a good loyal Japanese. Nobody ever saw the report again — not on our side, anyway."

As this incident illustrates, Patton’s devoted study and his intuitive gifts allowed him to get inside the head of an enemy, in this case the Japanese. He proved to be an equally pellucid student of the German military as well. "I have studied the German all my life," reflected Patton in War As I Knew It. "I have read the memoirs of his generals and political leaders. I have even read his philosophers and listened to his music. I have studied in detail the accounts of every damn one of his battles. I know exactly how he will react under any given set of circumstances. He hasn’t the slightest idea what I am going to do. Therefore, when the time comes, I’m going to whip the hell out of him."

‘‘Throughout his life, [Patton] completely dominated every unit he commanded," recalled Colonel Allen. "Yet in dominating, he did not domineer. Patton always led men. He did not rule them. This vital distinction explains many things about him. It explains why the troops called him ‘Georgie.’ Why his men and units were always the most soldierly, the most efficient, the most aggressive, and cockiest. Why he always got so much out of them." "I served with General George S. Patton," proudly recalls military historian Porter B. Williamson in his book Patton’s Principles. "No man served under Gen. Patton; he was always serving with us."

Patton’s well-publicized contempt for soldiers who professed to suffer from "battle fatigue," or who had dodged combat through self-inflicted wounds, was the obverse of his respect for personal courage. In War As I Knew It, the general recalled that whenever he would come across a soldier with self-inflicted wounds, "I would … say, ‘Now, all of you other soldiers listen,’ and would use about three lines of choice profanity and state that, by wounding himself, he not only showed he was a coward, but also added to the labor and risk of the brave men who did not use this means of getting out of battle."

While Patton certainly understood the horrors of combat, he also understood that it was useless to "take counsel of one’s fears" when there were battles to fight. "I don’t admit the existence of battle fatigue, because in war you can’t admit the existence of things like that," he explained. "Once you concede its reality, you admit the reality of demoralization. You can’t win battles with demoralized troops." Nor did he allow himself ever to display even the slightest hint of fear or doubt in the midst of battle. "Patton was scared, discouraged, and weary on many occasions, as he would frankly admit afterward," notes Colonel Allen. "He never claimed to be devoid of fear. It was not unusual for him to return from the lines and relate that he had been frightened."

"If we take the generally accepted definition of bravery as a quality which knows no fear, I have never seen a brave man," reflected Patton. "All men are frightened. The more intelligent they are, the more frightened they are. The courageous man is the man who forces himself, in spite of his fears, to carry on. Discipline, pride, self-respect, self-confidence, and the love of glory are attributes which will make a man courageous even if he is afraid."

Among Patton’s keys to victory were preparation and discipline. "A pint of sweat saves a gallon of blood," he noted in his memoirs, and he had the advantage of inheriting an exceptionally well trained Third Army from Lt. General Courtney H. Hodges. He also demanded that his army meet the highest and least forgiving standards of discipline and comportment, because it is through discipline that men overcome their fears on the battlefield.

"All human beings have an innate resistance to obedience," wrote Patton. "Discipline removes the resistance and, by constant repetition, makes obedience habitual and subconscious. Where would an undisciplined football team get?... Battle is more exigent than football. No sane man is unafraid in battle, but discipline produces in him a form of vicarious courage which, with his manhood, makes for victory. Self-respect grows directly from discipline. The Army saying, ‘Who ever saw a dirty soldier with a medal?’ is largely true."

Patton also displayed "intense loyalty to his men," recalled Colonel Allen, and he gave personal attention to men of outstanding courage. On one occasion he came across a soldier who had been run over by a tank and nearly cut in two. The general personally administered morphine and tended to the injured man as he succumbed to his fatal injuries. According to Patton, nearly 80 percent of an army commander’s mission "is to arouse morale in his men." Patton’s carefully cultivated image — the spit-shined cavalry boots, ivory-handled revolvers, the bulldog demeanor — was not merely an exercise in vanity, but a reflection of his leadership strategy.

Patton was also "the only army commander in the ETO who was briefed by enlisted men," notes Allen. "He listened to them as attentively as he did to officers." Patton demanded that the officers "talk with the troops": "They know more about the war than anybody. Make them tell you all of their gripes. Make sure they know we are doing everything we can to help them. The soldiers have to win the war. We cannot do it." Williamson points out that while Patton understood and strictly enforced the discipline of rank, he readily mingled with his men. "He talked with all of the soldiers," writes Williamson. "He touched the soldiers with a handshake or a slap on the back." Although Patton’s insistence upon obedience to uniform regulations was legendary, he also respected those soldiers who had dirtied themselves in combat, and no soldier "was so dirty or greasy that Gen. Patton would decline to shake his hand.... If a man deserved a compliment, Gen. Patton would snap to attention and salute the man for his work." Patton was also "the only senior ETO commander who always thanked and commended his troops upon the completion of a campaign, not with a merely perfunctory ‘well done’ statement, but a heartfelt message that he wrote himself," recalls Colonel Allen.

Williamson testifies that the respect shown by Patton to his troops was heartily reciprocated: "When we were in the dust and dirt of the desert and the salute was not required, I have seen soldiers try to form a straight line and salute Gen. Patton when he would drive past their area." The devotion of Patton’s men, summarizes Colonel Allen, was the product of "three deep-seated beliefs: That he was invincible in battle; that he was loyal to his men and always looked out for their interests; that he was as courageous as he demanded others should be."

Following the Allies’ disastrous loss to Rommel’s German-Italian panzer army at Tunisia’s Kasserine Pass in February 1943, Patton was appointed to replace Lt. General Lloyd Frendenall as head of the 2nd U.S. Corps. Upon taking command of a demoralized force that had suffered great losses in men, matériel, and momentum, Patton — at the time a two-star general — issued what he described as "a simplified directive of war: Use steamroller strategy; that is, make up your mind on course and direction of action, and stick to it." But he understood that strategic inflexibility depends upon tactical flexibility: "[I]n tactics, do not use steamroller strategy. Attack weakness. Hold them by the nose and kick them in the pants."

Few if any field commanders in history have been as tactically adaptable as Patton, and while he was an assiduous student of both warfare and history, he was quite at a loss to explain his gifts. "Whether these tactical insights of mine are the result of inspiration or insomnia, I have never been able to determine, but nearly every tactical idea I have ever had has come into my head full-born, much after the manner of Minerva from the head of Jupiter," Patton reflected. But his tactical decisions always served his overall strategy, which was rooted in Napoleon’s maxim that "the purely defensive is doomed to defeat."

"Wars are not won by defensive tactics," he explained. "Pacifists would do well to study the Siegfried and Maginot Lines, remembering that these defenses were forced; that Troy fell; that the walls of Hadrian succumbed; that the Great Wall of China was futile; and that, by the same token, the mighty seas which are alleged to defend us can also be circumvented by a resolute and ingenious opponent," admonished the general. "In war, the only sure defense is offense, and the efficiency of offense depends upon the warlike souls of those conducting it."

"General Patton always hated those military and political leaders who delayed, regrouped, consolidated gains, defended land, dug foxholes, or would permit any act which would prolong the war without any thought of the soldiers on both sides that would die from the delay," observed military historian Porter B. Williamson. "It’s a waste of fine young men to stay in fixed positions and see who can send over the most shells," explained General Patton. "It costs too many men to stay in fixed positions where the enemy can strike. We will keep moving and the enemy will always hit where we have been and not where we are. When the enemy is firing at where we have been, we can tell exactly where they have their firepower. We will move fast and destroy the enemy where he can be easily killed." To his Third Army Patton attached the nickname "Hell on Wheels" — an apt summary of his strategic vision. Patton’s key tactical insight was, "Never let the enemy pick the battle site. We will fight where we want to fight and not where the enemy wants to fight. We will always keep the odds on our side."

During his 13 months in combat in WW II, recalls military historian Colonel Paul D. Hawkins, Patton "never issued a defensive order. His theory — attack, attack, attack, and, when in doubt, attack again — shortened the war by never giving the enemy a chance to organize or reorganize enough to make a concerted attack against him." Although Patton, like most men of accomplishment and ambition, had a flair for self-promotion, he readily acknowledged that his successes were not the product of his unaided genius and the disciplined, capable troops under his command. "God has been very good to us," he acknowledged on the eve of his dramatic relief mission at Bastogne. "We have never retreated; we have suffered no defeats, no famine, no epidemics. This is because a lot of people back home have been praying for us. We have to pray for ourselves, too."

By September 1944, the Patton-commanded Third Army had blitzed across France, crushed German defenses, and was poised to strike at the very heart of the Reich. Within sight of the German border, Patton’s drive literally ran out of gas and ammunition. Supreme Allied Commander General Dwight Eisenhower had diverted the crucial supplies from Patton’s Army to British Commander Bernard Montgomery, who was staging an airborne invasion of Holland. Montgomery’s operation was a debacle that cost the lives of 17,000 British and American soldiers, while Patton, immobilized by the diversion, could only watch in impotent frustration. "It was my opinion that this was the momentous error of the war," Patton wrote in his memoir.

As journalist Jeffrey St. John wrote in an earlier profile of Patton in The New American, "Stopping Patton’s army from a thrust into Germany prolonged the war and cost greater Allied casualties." Patton, who understood that to make war means to sacrifice the lives of good men, found the needless waste of lives unconscionable. Compounding this outrage, observes St. John, was the fact that Eisenhower’s decision "gave the Soviets the necessary time to advance toward Germany from the east and to occupy Eastern Europe. Eisenhower’s later decision to allow the Soviets to capture Berlin has been defended on the grounds of saving lives — but he threw away lives earlier by halting Patton in August 1944. Keeping Patton from taking Prague proved equally favorable to the Soviets."

In April 1945, the Third Army had crossed the Rhine, rolled across Germany, and were within 50 miles of Berlin, when Patton’s superiors issued a nearly inexplicable order: He was ordered to withdraw 100 miles west, over captured territory. The vacuum was quickly filled by the Red Army, which swarmed over Czechoslovakia and eastern Germany.

"This war stopped right where it started," observed Patton during a closed, off-the-record press conference on May 8, 1945. "Right in the Hun’s backyard which is now Hitler’s graveyard. But that’s not the end of this business by any means. What the tin-soldier politicians in Washington and Paris have managed to do today is another story you’ll be writing for a long while.... They have allowed us to kick hell out of one b****** and at the same time forced us to help establish a second one as evil or more evil than the first. We have won a series of battles, not a war for peace. We’re headed down another long road to losing another peace."

Over the next several months, as Patton’s understanding of the betrayal grew, he became resolved to speak out publicly. "I will resign when I have finished this job [as military governor of Bavaria], which will be not later than Dec. 26," wrote Patton in an October 1945 diary entry. "I hate to do it, but I have been caged all my life, and whether they appreciate it or not, America needs some honest men who dare say what they think, not what they think people want them to think."

Unfortunately, Patton’s voice was stilled before it could be raised to protest the perfidy of our political establishment. On December 9, 1945, Patton and General Hobart Gay were backseat passengers in a military staff sedan speeding along the autobahn en route to a pheasant hunt. An army truck traveling in the opposite direction suddenly crossed their lane, creating the conditions for a head-on collision. Both drivers swerved to avoid a direct collision, but the side-swiping impact threw the general forward, striking his head on the sedan’s interior dome light, and then whiplashing him back. Although both the driver and General Gay were uninjured, Patton suffered crushed vertebrae in his upper spinal column, leaving him paralyzed from the neck down and mortally wounded.

"This is a hell of a way for a soldier to die," protested Patton as he lay paralyzed in an Army hospital bed in Heidelberg. For 12 days the indomitable 60-year-old general fought a rearguard action against death, valiantly battling an injury that would have killed most men within, at most, 72 hours. But on December 23rd the hero finally succumbed to pneumonia while in the company of his wife, Beatrice. "It is too dark; I mean too late," whispered the general as death came to claim him.

"He was buried in the drizzle of a fog-shrouded December morning on the day before Christmas in the American Military Cemetery at Hamm in Luxembourg," writes biographer Ladislas Farago. There he joined 5,076 other fallen Third Army heroes, whose honored remains repose beneath crosses and Stars of David. In death, as on the battlefield, Patton could be found amid his men. "The dead, most of whom had been killed fighting in the Battle of the Bulge, came from all of what were then the forty-eight states, from the District of Columbia, and from Alaska and Hawaii," records Farago.

Given Patton’s bottomless courage, his voracious appetite for the written word, and his unyielding sense of honor, his legacy is perhaps best summarized in his favorite quotation from Pilgrim’s Progress: "‘My sword I give to him that will succeed me in my pilgrimage, and my courage and skill to him that can get it. My works and scars I carry with me to be a witness for me that I have fought His battles who will now be my rewarder.’ So he passed over and all the trumpets sounded for him on the other side."

© Copyright 2003 American Opinion Publishing Incorporated

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Friday, September 19, 2003


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Solemn day gives way to Marine Corps celebration

By Karen Sanborn

KITTERY - Darby Healey stood somberly in the frigid, blustery air at John Paul Jones Park Saturday morning.

As the Seacoast Detachment of the Marine Corps League fired three shots into the air and set a wreath in front of the Marine memorial, tears crept from her eyes as she remembered her father.

J.T. Jenkins was his name. He served as a Marine for 30 years and was a prisoner of war for four. Healey still wears his dog tags, rectangular and gold in color.

She recalled how her father told her the tags kept him safe when he was taken prisoner.

Healey said her father helped start the Seacoast Detachment. He died before he ever saw the park’s memorial.

"He was proud to be part of this group," Healey said. "And I was proud of him."

Healey was one of a small group who gathered to watch the Marine Corps League honor wounded and departed Marines. With Marines dressed to the nines in red jackets and blue pants, the ceremony also marked Corps’ 228th birthday.

Commandant Frank Wisinski read a tribute to express "gratitude and pride to those who fought for the preservation of life."

Former Gunnary Sgt. Vic DiSilvestro set a wreath in front of the memorial, then saluted it. After a brief prayer, a six-gun salute cut through the air. Taps was played as the Marines stood at attention.

After the ceremony, Corps members stopped to reflect.

"This is a very significant event," said Wisinski, who served from 1957 to 1961. "The motto of the Marine Corps is to continue the honor the dignity, the bravery, the courage and the patriotism. Most of all, this is for fallen Marines and many who are disabled, for all those who have made a sacrifice on behalf of this country."

Ray Maher, a Marine from Hampton, served from 1969-1974. He believes the Corps is one of the few military organizations that celebrates its birthday each year.

"I think it’s just the brotherhood that makes the Marine Corps," Maher said. "It’s ‘once a Marine, always a Marine.’ That about sums it up. It never goes away."

The Marine Corps League members looked forward to the evening ball, held on Saturday evening.

Healey remembered how her parents looked forward to the event each year.

"When I was a child, I used to watch my parents get dressed up for the ball," Healey said. "My dad in his blues and my mom in a fancy dress. That was the big deal."


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Thursday, September 18, 2003


ONE FORTIFYING FIGHTER: Fallen Michigan Marine didn't dodge harm's way


Newbie wrote the book on bravery, say comrades left behind

April 14, 2003


BAGHDAD, Iraq -- To hear his buddies tell it, Pfc. Juan Garza Jr. was a Marine's Marine, a man who volunteered for anything, who never complained about a mission, whose gung-ho attitude shamed his older brothers-in-arms.

So it was in character Tuesday when Garza, 20, was one of those who volunteered to provide covering fire from a sandbagged bunker as the rest of his platoon used a berm to fight Iraqi forces for the Baghdad side of a bridge across the Diyala River.

Garza, who lived most recently in Temperance, Mich., put a cigarette in his mouth, recalled Pfc. Charles King, and told King to get in the hole.

"All of a sudden, he turned around," King sobbed. "Two shots rang out. . . . We yelled for the corpsman. We looked at his flak jacket, and blood just poured out. The staff sergeant said 'Just stay with him.' The last words I heard from him were, 'I'm OK.' "

But he wasn't.

He died less than an hour later, wounded in the chest. His body was wrapped in an American flag and placed aboard the helicopter that had been summoned to evacuate him. He was the only man of the 1,000-member 1st Battalion 4th Marine Regiment to die during the march to Baghdad.

On Sunday, his battalion gathered at its base in eastern Baghdad to remember Garza, who entered the Marine Corps last summer.

About 150 of his fellow Marines -- led by his buddies in Bravo Company's 1st Platoon -- sat around a makeshift shrine fashioned from his vest, rifle and helmet. Voices choked with grief as they described Garza as a small but tough guy who, despite his hardscrabble youth, had a very generous heart.

A native of Harlingen, Texas, Garza was a newly graduated infantryman when he joined the battalion at Camp Pendleton, Calif., in December. Garza constantly talked about his wife, Casey Garza, a soldier based at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Silver Spring, Md. They'd married Dec. 26 after the battalion learned that it would be going to Kuwait and possibly Iraq.

Garza's family, which included two sisters, had broken up when he was a child, and he'd been raised by an aunt and uncle in Michigan. He hadn't had any contact with his mother for five years, his friends said. But before the battalion left Kuwait for Iraq a month ago, Garza's wife wrote that his mom had been in touch and had sent photos of two younger half-siblings Garza had never met.

He proudly showed the photographs and said he was looking forward to the family reunion that his mother was planning.

Casey and Juan Garza had met in January 2002 at their after-school job -- a Wendy's in Lambertville, Mich. She was a senior at Start Senior High School in Toledo and he at Summerfield High School in Petersburg, Mich.

After the war, Casey Garza said Sunday from the Temperance home of her husband's aunt, they planned on having a wedding ceremony for family and friends. Starting a family was also a priority, she said, and they wanted two or three children.

But Casey Garza said she takes solace in knowing that Iraqi "children are free and men and women are free for the first time because my husband gave his life." Though his life was cut short, Casey Garza said, Juan Garza accomplished all of his goals: finishing high school and being a U.S. Marine.

She last spoke with her husband Feb. 25, the day he arrived in Kuwait. His last words were perhaps a hint that he would not return.

"This is definitely the last time I can talk to you," he told Casey.

They repeatedly told each other "I love you" until the 30-minute phone card beeped, a hint that they were out of minutes.

Free Press staff writer Rodney Thrash contributed to this report.


Wednesday, September 17, 2003


September 17, 2003, 9:00 a.m.
The Marines’ Perfect War
“They wanted to die, and we wanted to kill them.”

n 400 BC, the Athenian general Xenophon led 10,000 hoplites in a march up the Tigris and Euphrates valley — Mesopotamia, the land between the rivers, which today is called Iraq. The Greeks defeated every army that challenged them, including the 100,000-man force that the Great King of Persia sent against them. Xenophon entitled his account of this campaign the Anabasis, "the march up," which became the bane of many a young student of Greek.

Now two old Marines have given us a modern-day Anabasis — an account of the march of the 1st Marine Division from Kuwait to Baghdad, which mirrored the route taken by Xenophon's hoplites some 2,400 years ago. The March Up: Taking Baghdad with the 1st Marine Division by "Bing" West and Major General Ray "E-tool" Smith, USMC (ret) provides a remarkable description of a campaign conducted by some truly remarkable young Americans.

The Marines permitted West and Smith complete access to the battlefield — as long as they kept out of the way. Like the embedded journalists, they spent time with the Marine infantrymen, tankers, and artillerymen who raced toward Baghdad, but they were also free to move around, to hitch rides in helicopters or on amphibious tractors (amtracs). At one point, they were given use of a commandeered Baath-party official's SUV. All they had to do was find gasoline for it.

But while the reports from the embedded journalists have been described as akin to the "view through a soda straw," West and Smith were able to visit mobile Marine headquarters and listen in as commanders briefed their subordinates. West and Smith thus had the context that embedded journalists, no matter how riveting their reports, usually lacked.

In the pages of The March Up, the commanding general of the storied 1st Marine Division, Major General James Mattis, emerges as something of a latter-day Xenophon. An innovative leader who also led the task force that seized an advanced airbase in Afghanistan at the opening of that campaign, much to the chagrin of Army officers (see my NRO article, "Marines Turned Soldiers") Mattis "led from the front." He clearly had prepared his command well and it responded to his style of leadership.

His "message to all hands" issued at the outset of the campaign contains echoes of Henry V at Agincourt. "While we will move swiftly and aggressively against those who resist, we will treat all others with decency, demonstrating chivalry and soldierly compassion for people who have endured a lifetime under Saddam's oppression…Demonstrate to the world there is 'No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy' than a U.S. Marine."

West and Smith write that military theory suggests

that the ideal location for the general is one where he can observe the battlefield firsthand, gauge the fighting condition of his troops and the enemy, and still communicate with his key subordinates so that he can exploit what he is observing….By being on scene during this battle, Mattis was employing what theorists call the coup d'oeil, when the commander is able to select and focus on the battle's key elements. He could see that the Marines, although tired, were continuing to press forward, while the enemy had retreated into the town. He could see with his own eyes that his troops had the initiative.

On one occasion Mattis offered some water to a tired Marine passing his vehicle. "The Marine refilled his canteens, took a deep gulp, and patted Mattis on the shoulder. 'Thanks, man,' he said, trotting off, apparently unaware that he was talking to his division commander."

The fact that West and Smith praise Mattis is a tribute to his leadership. These are two men who are not easily impressed. West was a Marine infantry officer in Vietnam where he commanded both a platoon and a company. He was assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs in the Reagan administration and is the author of several books, including the recent, well-received novel, The Pepperdogs.

Smith is one of the most-decorated Marines since World War II. He commanded a company during the fight for Hue City during the Tet Offensive of 1968. He began the battle with 146 men. Thirty-four days later, only seven of his men had not been killed or wounded. He was an adviser to the South Vietnamese Marines during the 1972 Easter Offensive. He commanded a battalion during the Grenada operation and later a division.

My daughter asked about his nickname. "E-tool" is an abbreviation for "entrenching tool," military jargon for the small shovel that soldiers and Marines carry for digging their fighting holes. Trying not to be too graphic, I explained Smith's nickname by paraphrasing his own words: "Unlike a rifle, a shovel doesn't jam." As is the case with most legendary characters, the story of how he earned his sobriquet has many variations. Let's just say that the incident involved Ray Smith, a small shovel, and one or more North Vietnamese soldiers.

The March Up doesn't sugarcoat the campaign After all, even the best plan founders on "friction," e.g. map-reading errors, failures to communicate, unexpected enemy actions, and the like. As well-trained and well-led as they were, things often went wrong. . Leaders made mistakes, but they learned as they went. Rumors about Iraqi car bombers and deceptive surrenders spread quickly, adding to the anxieties of the young Marines who would pay the price for complacency or a lack or vigilance. The authors' account of the fight for Nasiriyah is particularly harrowing.

As one might expect of two men who have led Marines in combat, West and Smith demonstrate a deep and abiding affection for the young Marines who fill the pages of this book. West and Smith understand the bond that develops among men at war. They experienced it. "Jobs — staying alive — determined a Marine's family on the march up, not rank or ethnicity. Those you lived with were those you fought with and who would keep you alive."

The Marines faced some sharp fights on the road to Baghdad and more once they arrived. They encountered Iraqi soldiers of all kinds: soldiers of regular units, some of whom fought and some of whom didn't; militia, who preferred not to fight but sometimes did because they wee intimidated by Saddam's fedayeen; and foreign jihadis.

The jihadis asked no quarter and the Marines gave them none. The Marines

knew the difference between these jihad fighters and the militia. Consequently the Marines shot them in the ditches and in the field. They threw grenades into the bulrushes and shot the fighters when they ran out. They threw grenades into the drainage pipes running under the road…A few of the foreign fighters surrendered, but most did not — they had come to Iraq to die, and die they would.

As one Marine put it, this was the perfect war. "They want to die, and we want to kill them."

The March Up, like the Anabasis, is destined to be a classic.

— Mackubin Thomas Owens, an NRO contributing editor, is an associate dean of academics and professor of strategy and force planning at the Naval War College in Newport, RI. He led a Marine infantry platoon in Vietnam in 1968-1969.


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Tuesday, September 16, 2003



by DickG

Gung Ho!

The basis of Carlson's thinking was what he called Gung Ho, basically, "work together." But his concept of this was not merely a battle cry, a slogan or a motto, etc.; it is an ideal that goes to the very root and core of leadership and the social structure of the military unit.

He held open " Gung Ho Talks" with his troops with all hands having a say in the matters at hand. Leaders were those who were recognized by their ability to lead, rather than being appointed to rank. Of course, this all came from his experience with the Chinese 8th Route Army, where he had first recognized that the true basis of leadership was ethics itself (something he had pondered upon all his life to that point).

Thus he attempted to teach and guide his raiders in what he referred to as Ethical Indoctrination. Some thought that he carried this too far, but not his own men. He did not carry his ideals of leadership and organization beyond the confines of Marine Corps regulations, but others feared that he would.

Carlson insisted on officers and enlisted alike eating the same food, being provided the same quarters, etc. They sang hymns and patriotic songs together, often with Carlson playing his harmonica. He not only allowed, he insisted each of his own men make decisions on their own.

Carlson had a grasp of what it is that makes men fight. His long and varied service plus his constant study and reflection upon the subject left him with beliefs and theories that he had been developing for many years. These he used in establishing his 2d Raider Battalion. He knew it was necessary for men to know why and for what they were fighting.

He taught his Marines the implications involved between the war in Europe and the war in the Pacific. And every man could ask questions and state his views. They also discussed matters such as what kind of society they wanted after the war, etc.

Interviewed by Robert Sherrod aboard ship just prior to the Tarawa invasion Carlson said, "You spoke about espirit de corps...the Marine Corps has it to a high degree.

But when the going gets toughest, when it takes a little more drive to stay sane and to keep going, and a man is hungry and tired, then he needs more than espirit de corps. It takes conviction....Our greatest weakness is the caliber of our officers, and that, of course, is a reflection of our system of education." Carlson went on to state that the best officers were enlisted men after they had proven themselves in battle.

Within a few days after the battle for Tarawa, Carlson was flown home. He spoke before a meeting of one thousand officers at Camp Pendleton. "Tarawa was won," Carlson told them, "because a few enlisted men of great courage called out simply to their comrades, 'Come on, fellows. Follow me!'

And then went on, followed by men who took heart at their example, to knock out, at great sacrifice, one Jap position after another, slowly, until there were no more.
Tarawa is a victory because some enlisted men, unaffected by the loss of their officers, many of whom were casualties in the first hour, became great and heroic commanders in their own right.

"But--" He paused for a long time. "But with all that courage and fortitude and willingness to die on the part of some of the men, too many others lacked initiative and resourcefulness.

They were not trained to understand the need for sacrifice. Too many men waited for orders--and while they waited they died. What if they had been trained not to wait for orders?"

He was deeply angry. Lives could have been saved. It was this very matter he had mentioned to Robert Sherrod of Time...."What if they had been trained not to wait for orders?" Carlson had asked.

And how extraordinary was the resourcefulness of the few!...But if all had been trained to act by themselves...."Our leaders did not give them that chance," Carlson told the thousand Marine officers at Camp Pendleton."


Lieutenant Geneneral
Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller, USMC (Ret.)
Now, Chesty Puller is so well known to every Marine that just about anything that could be written here about him would be redundant. Outspoken and Outstanding, The Marine's Marine! What more could be said? Very little more, and much, much more, both answers would be correct at the same time.

But here is one thing that might be mentioned here. This is in regard to the infamous Ribbon Creek incident and court-martial of the 1956 Marine Corps . The following is neither as well known nor as often quoted as most other stories about Chesty Puller, yet it stands as much as any other to present a clear picture as to who he was and what he stood for, and what he always will be in the eyes and hearts of Marines everywhere.

"On the dimly moonlit night of April 8, 1956, a platoon of Marine recruits at Parris Island, South Carolina, was marched into a tidal arm of Broad River by a thirty-one-year-old veteran drill instructor, Staff Sergeant Matthew C. McKeon. Six recruits drowned."
McKeon had had several drinks of vodka that day, the CMC relieved the commanding officer of the recruit depot, and told Congress that McKeon would be punished.
McKeon was court-martialed.

Amid a nationwide public outcry regarding the whole matter of the drownings in particular and Marine Corps training practices in general, LtGen Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller was recalled to active duty to testify at the trial regarding Marine training and tradition. Mrs. Puller protested to her husband citing previous trouble and controversy in Puller's career. Puller told her, "...The important thing is the Marine Corps. If we let 'em, they'll tear it to pieces. Headquarters won't speak up. It's my duty to do it."

At the trial, Puller was asked questions pertaining to his own military service, the mission of the Marine Corps, the most important element of Marine training, etc. In part, Puller replied that:, "...The definition of military training is success in battle. In my opinion, it is the only objective of military training..."
He quoted Napoleon. "He stated that the most important thing in military training is discipline. Without discipline an army becomes a mob."
Puller was asked what he had learned here (PISC) as a recruit. He replied, "Well, the main thing--that I have rememberd all my life--is the definition of esprit de corps. Now my definition--that I was taught, that I've always believed in--is that esprit de corps means love for one's military legion. In my case the United States Marine Corps. I also learned that this loyalty to one's Corps travels both ways, up and down."

"Q: Now, general, I want you to assume that what is the evidence in this case is a fact. That on a Sunday evening a drill instructor took a platoon that was undisciplined and lacked spirit and on whom he' tried other methods of discipline. And that for purposes of teaching discipline and instilling morale he took that platoon into a marsh or creek--all the way in front of his troops--would you consider that oppression?
A: In my opinion it is not."
"Q: So, in your opinion, was this act of this drill instructor in leading his troops, under those conditions and for that purpose, good or bad military practice?
A: Good...
...I would train my troops as I thought--as I knew they should be trained--regardless of a directive."
"Q: ...I lead these recruits into water over their heads and I lose six of those men by drowning. Would you say that some action should be taken against me?
A: I would say that this night march was and is a deplorable accident."
"Q: Would you take any action against me if I were the one who did that, if you were my Commanding Officer, sir?
A: ...I think, from what I read in the papers yesterday of the testimony of General Pate before this court, that he agrees and regrets that this man was ever ordered tried by general court-martial."

"Puller went into the noncom's club that night with Berman, two Marine generals and other officers; the big crowd stood, shouting until he spoke:
'I've talked enough for today. This will be my last request. Do your duty and the Marine Corps will be as great as it has always been for another thousand years.'
The applause was deafening."

The book, " Marine, The Life of Lt. Gen. Lewis B. (Chesty) Puller, USMC (Ret.)"
By Burke Davis, 1962, Bantam


Monday, September 15, 2003



Marine Corps Birthday Ball Speech Given by Craig Roberts, Marine Vietnam vet and author, to the US Marine Reserve Anti-Tank Battalion, Tulsa, Oklahoma, Nov 9, 2002.

I want to thank you for inviting me to be your speaker on this 227th Birthday of our Beloved Corps. It is quite an honor, and one that I never even considered happening to me when I was a young hard- charging Marine in Vietnam in the mid nineteen sixties. I only wish my father, who was a World War II FMF Marine, Pvt. William F. Roberts, Jr., USMC, serial number 555502, and who passed on last year, could be present to hear his son talk about his Marine Corps.

I know that many of you are wondering why a lance corporal is your speaker. It may because I�m a combat vet, or because I�m known as a writer of military tales, or because I can tell some great war stories. But it might also be because the rank of lance corporal is the best rank to hold in the Marine Corps. At least it was when I was in. A lance was too high a grade to do dirty details, but not high enough to take any responsibility. We supervised working parties of PFCs and Privates, but if anything went wrong, we blamed the Corporal who should have been there supervising, but was down at the slop chute or the gedonk instead, and left us in charge. Yes, lance corporal was a great rank, and a lofty one as well. At least in those days when it was not uncommon for a PFC to re-up after four years to make Lance. And the rank lasted a long time too....at one time I was senior lance corporal of the Marine Corps. I had more time in grade with a clean record than any other lance in the Corps. I was kind of like Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps...but for lance corporals.

Also, there is one misnomer I would like to clear up. There is no such thing as an "ex-Marine." There are only Marines. Some are on active duty, some on reserve duty, and some, such as I, which we can specify as not-presently-serving Marines. The formula is simple: Once a Marine�Always a Marine.

People ask me why I later joined the National Guard and eventually transferred to the Army Reserve instead of joining the Marine Corps Reserve. In 1972 the Vietnam war was still going on, and the USMC reserve unit here was a truck company. I was FMF infantry, and "Motor T" was not something an FMF grunt is interested in. At the time I thought the Guard infantry battalion here could use my experience to train their troops. I could tell you horror stories concerning that decision that would plague me for years, but I won�t. The bottom line is that after 26 years, and various duty assignments�some good and some bad�I managed to retire as a lieutenant colonel in 1999, Infantry branch. During this time with the Army I told my colleagues that if I did a good job, worked hard, and kept out of trouble, I�d eventually get my old rank back as a lance corporal. When I did retire, a Marine gunny I�ve known for years, began referring to me as a "lance colonel." So, in a way, I did come full circle. I am now the only "lance colonel" existing in any branch of the service.

I sometimes am asked what it was like in the Old Corps. Well, I wasn�t in the old corps. When I was in, between 1964-68, the old Korean War salts who served with us called us "boots" and "the new corps." At this point I must clarify what a "boot" is. According to our NCOs in days past, a boot is someone who enters the gate at MCRD ten minutes or more after you do. From then on, he is boot to you and you�ll never let him forget it.

As time passed, the "New Corps" criteria changed with each generation, and my generation now is considered by the WWII and Korean Marines as "the semi-old Corps" or the "not-quite-so-old" Corps.

But a few years back the Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, standing next to the Commandant at Parris Island during a training inspection said "Sir, There�s the old corps, the new corps, and whatever in the hell this is." I can�t comment on that, just reporting it. But now those lads at Parris Island then are now probably considered Old Corps by today�s young Marines.

I�m also sometimes asked what boot camp was like in the sixties, before Vietnam. It was rough. It was the hardest training I ever went through. It was the same as it was in the Korean War era, except the M-1s had been replaced by M-14s. In fact, my platoon commander, Staff Sergeant Joe Vierra, carried a .50 caliber receiver out of the Chosin Reservoir on his shoulder. He worked for a gent named Colonel Lewis B. Puller. Vierra was the most sadistic, meanest, most cruel bulldog-faced cigar-chomping gorilla who ever wore a campaign cover. But if there�s anyone I owe the successes of my life, and my survival in Vietnam to, it�s him.

If you remember the TV series "Gomer Pyle" you know what our utilities looked like. They were faded forest green cotton sateen utilities that we scrubbed with scrub brushes on the wash racks by hand until they looked turquoise�what we considered salty. Then they were starched like boards until the crease in the trousers could cut raw meat. Our boots were rough-out brown boots that we dyed black and spit shined, and our covers were starched and ironed until they could be used as a deadly weapon.

All this changed in Vietnam. Our boots rotted, our utilities fell apart, and our 782 gear was next to useless for the amount of gear we had to carry. Imagine a place where it is 125 degrees with 98% humidity day in and day out. It was like working in a blast furnace. Then monsoon season came and it rained hard 24 hours a day until the entire TAOR was nothing but a sauna bath of mud, and lakes of chest deep stinking rice paddies. We finally were issued jungle utilities, jungle boots, and pack boards with willie peter bags to carry our gear. The WWII canvas 782 gear, or what was left of it, was turned in or discarded. Our M-14s rusted no matter how well we tried to keep them, and M-16s wouldn�t be issued until the year after I was medevaced out of country. Our meals consisted of green cans of C-rations, normally cold, two, and if we were lucky (or unlucky), three times a day, for weeks on end, and our rifle cleaning gear was simply the butt-well gear, an old skivi shirt torn into bore patches, and a bottle of motor oil drained from a six-by. So began Vietnam for the Corps.

We learned a lot of things in Vietnam. Never return from a patrol on the same trail used in going out; tie and tape down anything that rattles; always use hand and arm signals instead of talking; always carry extra dry socks and plenty of ammo and grenades, make sure your canteens are always filled, and a thousand other things. But we also learned of danger areas when some of our Marines said certain things. For instance:

A PFC when he says "I learned this in boot camp."

A Sergeant saying, "Trust me sir..."

A 2nd Lieutenant saying "based on my experience..."

A 1st Lieutenant saying "I was just thinking..."

A Captain saying "I think I know a short cut..."

A Major saying "Chow and ammo should be on the way..."

A Colonel saying "One more mission this week won�t hurt us..."

A General saying "last night I had a dream..."

And a gunny saying, "Watch this..."

Since my walking tour of Southeast Asia, I�ve written about Vietnam, the Corps, and other wars and services. But I�m often asked why I haven�t written about other "elite" services such as the Green Berets and the SEALs. After all, aren�t they America�s super warriors?

My response is that the Green Beanies, if used according to their mission and charter are school teachers, and capable of doing a great job of working with indigenous populations. But they are not a fighting force like our Corps. But on the other hand, in Vietnam we proved to be excellent school teachers as well... evidenced by our Combined Action Platoon Marines who worked, taught, fought, organized, and lived in the villes with the locals. We didn�t need any Green Berets, we did it ourselves.

And SEALs? They are simply Marine wannabees who were afraid to go to Marine Corps boot camp, so they joined the Navy. What do they do that Marines haven�t done for years? Especially our Force Recon warriors? Can anyone name one mission the SEALs do that the Marines can�t? I can�t think of a single one.

Now, I do have great respect for the Navy. They provide us with three things: transportation to the battlefields, ships to launch our aircraft, and most importantly, our Docs.

A critical part of the Marine Corps family is our FMF Corpsmen. Unlike SEALs, they aren�t afraid of Marine Corps training. So who is the real Naval Hero here? Think about this: when you see your Doc in the field, and the bullets fly and all of us are on the deck taking up firing positions, Doc is the only guy up and running around to take care of us. Unlike some of the old jokes about Army medics, our Corpsmen do make house calls.

Since I have served in the Marines, spent time on Naval Bases and on ships, served in the Army and was attached to the Air Force, I can give you a first-hand observation of comparing the branches. I agree with Col. David Hackworth when he wrote this:

The Air Force is like a French Poodle: always looks pretty, sometimes a bit pampered and always travels first class. But the Poodle was bred as a hunting dog and in a fight it is very dangerous.

The Army is like a St. Bernard. It�s big and heavy and sloppy and a bit clumsy. But it�s powerful and has lots of stamina and is built for the long haul.

The Navy is like a Golden Retriever. They�re good natured and great around the house. Their hair is a bit long and they often go wandering off for long periods of time. They love water and kids love them.

The Marines come in two breeds, Rottweilers and Dobermans. Some are big and mean and some are skinny and mean. All are mean. They�re aggressive on the attack and tenacious on the defense. They�ve got really short hair and they always go for the throat.

My thanks to Colonel Hackworth for those observations. Now here are a few of my own:

From my perspective, a major difference can be seen in how the services build their bases and installations. I now give this insight to our younger Marines so you can see how the system works.

When setting up a new base, the Air Force first decides where to build the clubs and swimming pools and PX, then if any money is left over, where to build the runway and hangars. They know they can still go back to Congress and say, "gee, we ran out of money and we still need a runway," and they know they�ll get it.

The Army first brings in the engineers to build the golf course, then barracks that would put a mid-eastern sultan to shame, a fantastic officer�s club, a recreation center, and a huge PX, all hosted by civilian contractors. They then request more money to build ranges and training areas. And they get it.

The Navy builds a port by erecting a pier or two, while the chiefs develop a liberty call plan and arrange for transportation for the sailors to the bar district. When all is said and done, they have a great facility and all the comforts of home. And they usually have a few bucks left over, hidden in accounts in the budget of the submarine base, which is all secret�but accessible.

The Marines do it different. We find a mud-flats stretch of beach, slog inland until we find a steep hill, build a swamp on one side and a desert on the other, a rifle range at the bottom, and call it a base. If there�s any money left over, which there normally isn�t, we might think of building barracks.

Tactically and politically, there is also something that needs to be said about the Marine Corps. The Marines are the worlds greatest pacifists. According to the dictionary, a pacifist is someone who wants to end war, establish peace, and resolve political unrest. This is exactly what the Marines do best. If you want to pacify a world hot spot, send in the Marines. Twenty-four to forty-eight hours later the place is pacified.

Our motto, First to Fight, is more than that. It is a way of life. Since November 10th, 1775 when a group of fighting men gathered for the first time in a little tavern in Philadelphia to form the Continental Marines, to the fighting tops of the Bonhomme Richard, to the Barbary Coast, and from the Halls of Montezuma to Belleau Wood, Nicaragua and China, and on to Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Okinawa, then the frozen Chosin and the bloody hills of Korea, and then to the steaming jungles and rice paddies of Vietnam, and beyond to the Mayaguez mission, Beirut, Grenada, the Gulf War, Somalia, Bosnia, and now Afghanistan, and a thousand other battlefields, our Marines have truly been the "First to Fight" and have distinguished themselves with honor, bravery, sacrifice, and love of God, Country and Corps.

The Marine Corps is more than a service. It is more than a team. It is a family. I want to tell you a little bit about MY Marine Corps Family.

When I was working on my book, "Combat Medic�Vietnam," I had the honor of interviewing and telling the story of many medics and corpsmen. But one gentleman stuck in my mind for years, Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Douglas Wean, a silver star recipient who served with Kilo Battery, 4th Battalion, 12th Marines at Dong Ha, Vietnam in 1968. He told me of an incident that we can all relate to.

One of the Marines in his unit had been wounded during a resupply run, bringing 155 howitzer rounds up the road to the firebase at Camp Carrol on the DMZ. The word came that the resupply truck had hit a mine. Doc Wean ran down the trail to where the smoking six-by rested, twisted and riddled with holes. Doc Wean worked on the wounded until he came to a personal friend, Jimmy. Jimmy was in bad shape, and Doug knew that the best he could do would be to cheer him up by telling him he was going home.

"Doc, ya can�t medevac me," said Jimmy. "Ya gotta fix me up so I can stay."

"You�ve done all you can do here, Jimmy. It�s time to go home.

"But you don�t understand, Doc. My battery needs me. I gotta drive the roads to bring up the rounds. If I don�t deliver, they can�t fire the missions. They all depend on me. I gotta take care of MY guys."

There was that word again. My. My guys. My Marines. At first I hadn�t really understood. What was it that brought men so close together that they would do anything�including die�for their fellows? Now I was beginning to understand. It wasn�t any one thing. It was a combination of several factors that all meld together to form a bond stronger than steel. The war, the terror, the dying and every other unspeakable horror men face in combat is countered by a combination of comradeship, trust dedication, an ingrained instinct for survival, and in the Marine Corps, history and tradition. These guys weren�t only responsible to each other, but to ALL the Marines who had come before. It was a family where one generation followed another and each passed a code of honor to the next. It wasn�t really patriotism or loyalty to a higher authority, it was a sense of responsibility to fellow Marines�past and present. Everybody felt like they were an important part of a family, or a team. They were made to feel that way. A feeling of need built dedication, and the dedication built pride, and a special spirit known as esprit d�Corps. Nowhere at home, or anywhere else in life, did a man feel as needed by his friends as he did here. It was all beginning to make sense. And I was beginning to feel a part of it. They made me feel just as needed and as important too. I was part of the team. I was THEIR Doc. And they were MY family. My Marine Corps family.

The Marine Corps Family. It kind of boils down to that. A team. A tradition. Brothers and sisters in arms, ready to go into harm�s way at a moment�s notice.

And our ancestors all had something in common with those who serve today, and we with them. A common link, and a common bond, forged by uncommon men and women. When we look back to such places as the misty, muddy forest of Belleau Wood in World War II, where the Fifth and Sixth Regiments of Marines earned the nickname of Teufel Hund, or Devil Dog, by the Germans who respected them for their bulldog tenacity and fighting spirit, we find they wore a small badge of recognition that set them apart from all other services: the Eagle, Globe and Anchor.

The China Marines, who patrolled the Yangtse River and the Leathernecks who patrolled the jungles of the Philippines and Nicaragua in the 1920s, also wore the Eagle, Globe and the Anchor.

During World War II, our Marines went ashore at places like Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Saipan, Okinawa and dozens of other islands and atolls, and shed blood in the sand and coral, their utilities stenciled with the Eagle, Globe and Anchor.

On the rugged hills of Korea, and at the famous Chosin Reservoir, our Marines fought against odds that were often greater than ten-to-one, and we won every battle and fought the greatest marching battle since Napoleon left Moscow when we came out of the Chosin to the coast bearing all of our equipment and our wounded and even our dead. And in the process, destroyed 13 communist Chinese divisions. On the left pocket of the field jacket of every man was printed the Eagle, the Globe and the Anchor.

In Vietnam, we conducted thousands of combat patrols, hundreds of sweeps, dozens of major operations, and fought in steaming jungles, muddy rice paddies, and even house to house in cities. We endured, we fought, and we won every engagement. And we, America�s young men who volunteered for America�s most unpopular war, also proudly wore the Eagle, the Globe and the Anchor.

In Beirut, 242 Marines died in a horrible terrorist atrocity that is yet to be avenged. But it will be. And for all of those brothers that died and those that did come home, they had one thing in common: They all wore the Eagle, Globe and Anchor.

In Grenada, Somalia, Bosnia, and Afghanistan, our brethren also all wore with pride and honor the Eagle, the Globe and the Anchor. Through all of these campaigns, and through all of these generations, we have all shown that our beloved Corps, and our beloved emblem have literally, as our hymn says, served "in every clime and place."

It�s a small emblem, but it says it all. We serve on in the air, on the land, and on the sea. We go anywhere, accomplish any mission, and are indeed, as the popular saying goes today, America�s 911 service.

And there�s one more family member that ranks alongside every Marine here and in the past. The Marine Corps Wife. God Bless her, she puts up with us, suffers when we suffer, supports us through good and hard times, and above all, understands us. No other wife in the world can claim the honor of being a Marine Corps wife. These women are special, and in their own way, also wear the Eagle, the Globe and the Anchor.

So here�s to OUR Marine Corps family. Here�s to MY Marines, past, present and future, and ....

As we used to scream in unison in boot camp in 1964: God Bless the United States Marine Corps, and Chesty Puller, wherever you are!

Happy Birthday, Marines, and Semper Fi!