Happy Birthday, Marines

From the Halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli, all across America and in Iraq, Afghanistan and wherever America is being defended, the world’s most exclusive gun club is the celebrating its 233 birthday today.

Born in a roughneck Philadelphia bar in 1775 on a dare to surpass standard warrior excellence, the United States Marines Corps has distinguished itself over its history as the finest military force the world has ever seen. Do not point the US Marines Corps at anything you do not wish conquer. They are the pointy end of America’s spear.

The Devil Dogs are always the first to the fight. Looking at their battle flags fluttering in the breeze reminds of their bravery and warrior ethos. Battle streamers honoring their bravery in battles such as Belleau Wood, Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Saipan, Peleliu, Iwo Jima, Okinawa and Chosin Reservoir remind us of just a few of the famous battles they have fought and won.

Having spent time with Devil Dogs in Iraq and Afghanistan while on a USO Tour, it was abundantly clear that these men and women are the most determined, courteous and
courageous people I have ever had the privilege of sharing time with. To the person, they all expressed their gratitude for being on the frontlines of the war on terror with their fellow Marines. It truly humbled me to see that level of camaraderie and Blood Brotherhood dedication.

They not only fight for America, but for each other. This is the definition of ‘espirit de corps”.

I have visited with wounded Marines in hospitals. Regardless of the severity of their wounds, pain and suffering, they all expressed to me their utmost desire to return to the battlefield with their buddies to see the war won. This is the kind of sacrifice that leaves a lump in man’s throat. As I listened to them I couldn’t help but be so very thankful that America produces these young men and women of such character and determination.

When we get older, it’s natural to think about whether we’ve actually done something worthwhile. This is not the case for the leatherneck men and women of the mighty US Marine Corps. President Reagan said it best: “Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference. The Marines don’t have that problem.”

I suspect if the Marines know one thing, it is that freedom is not free. There is a toll to be exacted and it is their blood, sweat, sacrifice and lives. As I type these vary words, there are leathernecks pushing ahead and killing Al Qaeda and Taliban voodoo monsters.

These leathernecks come from a long lineage of warriors who don’t know the meaning of quit. My hero, Colonel Lewis “Chesty” Puller summed it best when he said during the Korean War, “We’re surrounded? Good, now we can kill the bastards in any direction.”

Clearly, there is no finer friend, no worse enemy than the Marines. This was exemplified by Marine General James Mattis when he told Iraqi leaders, “I come in peace. I didn’t bring artillery. But I’m pleading with you, with tears in my eyes: If you “mess” with me, I’ll kill you all.” My kind of man.

The US Marines are warriors. They are the few and the proud. Americans are the many and the blessed. So long as the Marines are with us the flame of freedom and liberty will burn brightly.

May God bless the United States Marines Corps. Happy 233rd birthday, Devil Dogs. Semper Fi. Godspeed my Blood Brothers. Carry on.