Why I love the United States Marine Corps:

"When I give you the word, together we will cross the Line of Departure, close with those forces that choose to fight, and destroy them. Our fight is not with the Iraqi people, nor is it with members of the Iraqi army who choose to surrender. 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. . . ..

"You are part of the world's most feared and trusted force. Engage your brain before you engage your weapon. Share your courage with each other as we enter the uncertain terrain north of the Line of Departure. Keep faith in your comrades on your left and right and Marine Air overhead. Fight with a happy heart and strong spirit."
Maj. Gen. J. Mattis, commander, 1 Marine

There is probably no other institution on earth that honestly and completely accepts chivalry as an operating principle. The USMC still believes in it, though, with a whole heart. Believing, they bring it back into the world, and make it real again. Today I toast them: it's all I can do. Another day, if Fate smiles, I may do more.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thirty two years in the active ranks of the Corps. Retired in 1991. My bride said that the Corps was still living in the 1950s and many of their views of the world were that way...and she liked that. We've some lads and lasses that get in that are awful (we're at just 200,000 and shrinking - again) and any organization that big is bound to have some awfuls. Still, I think more than most, we constantly consider our conduct and attempt to better ourselves. It did wonders for me as a kid of 17 who dropped out of high school (good reasons...no criminality) but, got a high school GED, BA and two masters whilst on active duty...a 3rd after I retired. Eight years enlisted and the remainder as an officer. Most was great. Vietnam was hard and I am still bitter about that.....really dumb senior officers (not in the Marines) combined with politicians who knew less about actual foreign affairs on the ground and military capabilities on the ground than most Sergeants and Captains. I rattle on too long. Good quote from Gen Mattis.