US Marines in Afghanistan

United States Marine Corps In Afghanistan.

The Battle for Marjah

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First Amphibious Landing

The attack on New Providence, Bahamas was led by Captain Samuel Nicholas and was the first amphibious raid in the history of the Marine Corps. It was done to support General Washington’s new army.

General Washington did not have the minimum amounts of ammunition needed to mount an attack on Trenton against the British. Eight vessels under the command of Commodore Esek Hopkins set out with a battalion of Marines, commanded by Captain Samuel Nicholas, for the British colony. The forts located at New Providence were known to have a large quantity of badly needed gunpowder.

Courtesy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Marine_Corps
Courtesy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Marine_Corps

Landing on 3 March 1776 the Marines made the first amphibious assault, taking the British defenders completely by surprise. The British withdrew from Fort Montague and the Marines captured the fort without firing a shot. Unfortunately, the British had moved the majority of the gunpowder to their main fort at Nassau. The Marines spent the night at Fort Montague; confident the next morning would bring a great victory.

During the night the British governor evacuated most of Fort Nassau’s gunpowder by ship to avoid capture by the Marines. The morning of the fourth, Nicholas demanded and received from the governor of New Providence, the surrender of the fort. The fortress yielded only twenty-four barrels of gunpowder, which was a disappointment to the victorious Marines. However, the Marines stripped the island of cannon and ordnance supplies before departing.

The expedition to New Providence was not over for the Marines. On their way home Commodore Hopkins’s squadron fell under attack with a British frigate.

In the ensuing battle, Marine sharpshooters fired their weapons from the ships riggings and masts, killing many British sailors.

The British frigate broke off the engagement and headed for home. Seven Marines died in the action, becoming the first of many Marines who would die in the fight for independence.

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Corps is going sleeves up

Headquarters Marine Corps
Commandant Gen. James F. Amos: Corps is going sleeves up
By Gen. James F. Amos | Headquarters Marine Corps | February 25, 2014
WASHINGTON

Sgt. Maj. Barrett and I have now spoken to the majority of you about our efforts to “Reawaken the Soul of our Corps.” Each time that we have talked with you, we come away with a strong belief that you “get it.” You understand that our renewed focus on the four enduring principles of: DISCIPLINE; ADHERENCE TO STANDARDS; ENGAGED AND CONCERNED LEADERSHIP (24/7); and FAITHFUL OBEDIENCE TO ORDERS, is key to resetting the Corps and getting ready for tomorrow’s fight. You understand that those 4 principles define what we have called “The Soul of the Corps.” They have been with us for over 238 years…it’s always been that way.

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As we complete the mission in Afghanistan, it’s critical to understand that there will be no “peace dividend” for America’s Marines…there will be no operational pause for us. The world that we will live and operate in over the next two decades will be a dangerous one; there will be plenty of work for those who wear our cloth.

As we have travelled throughout our Corps, many of you have let us know how important your identity as a Marine is to you and the Marines you lead. I can’t tell you how many times we have been asked the persistent question “Commandant, are we ever going to return to SLEEVES UP?” I’ve thought a lot about this over the past 2 .5 years; I realize that it’s important to you. Sleeves up clearly and visually sets us apart.

WE HEAR YOU MARINES!

Because of the persistence of you, my Sergeants and Corporals, this evening I am publishing a MARADMIN that will return us to SLEEVES UP status when wearing our Desert CAMMIES in non-combat areas. This will take effect on 9 March when we transition to our summer warmer weather uniforms. Get the word out Marines.

Thank you for your leadership in some very challenging times!!!

Semper Fidelis
Commandant Gen. James F. Amos: Corps is going sleeves up

Source

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“Backbone” USMC Leadership Traits – JJDIDTIEBUCKLE

by Cpl. Beddoe, 2013

JJDIDTIEBUCKLE is an acronym used by Marines representing their 14 leadership traits.

Justice, Judgment, Dependability, Initiative, Decisiveness, Tact, Integrity, Endurance, Bearing, Unselfishness, Courage, Knowledge, Loyalty,& Enthusiasm.

BACKBONE is a fantastic book (Julia Dye, Ph.D., 2011) about those leadership traits and includes fitting stories of iconic Leathernecks and others who signified those traits in their actions in and out of combat.

backboneIf there is one constant about the fourteen leadership traits recognized by the Marine Corps, it is that not one of them stands alone or above all the others. They are intertwined and interdependent, like the parts of a fine watch or the gears in a complex machine. Absent one trait, all the others are affected: the watch loses time, the machine malfunctions. Without unselfishness, it may be difficult to be dependable. Without knowledge, it’s tough to make solid judgment calls.

For Marines, it’s about the mission and keeping the mission central to each tactical decision. Today’s complex and knowledge-intensive world requires the kind of bottom-up leadership that Marine NCO’s undertake every day.

I have summarized each trait below, using verbatim text in most cases, based on what I took away from each section in Backbone. I highly recommend acquiring a copy of the book for reference and for the great history lessons.

Justice
Justice is the practice of being fair and consistent. A just person gives consideration to each side of a situation and bases rewards or punishments on merit. As good leaders, we have to hold people accountable. We have to show that if you do good, you get good things. If you do bad, you will be held accountable.

Judgment
Often, leaders must assess situations quickly and without significant time to reflect. The Marine Corps refers to the “70 Percent Solution,” meaning an imperfect solution that can be acted upon quickly, rather than waiting for the perfect judgment – which may never come. This guideline doesn’t advise acting in extreme haste; rather, it advises avoiding “analysis Paralysis.” It argues that with 70 percent of the possible knowledge, having completed 70 percent of the analysis, and with a confidence rate of about 70 percent, the time is right to make an informed judgment.

Dependability
Amidst the stress and chaos of combat, there often is no telling how people will react. A hero one day may be a catatonic wreck the next. Some would say that’s perfectly understandable. Marines say that’s totally unacceptable. Marines demand dependability in all situations – on and off the battlefield. Leaders have consistency in crisis and do not over commit. They do what they say they’ll do when they say they’ll do it.

Initiative
Find a way to take the initiative; don’t do it for the recognition or for the glory, do it to help accomplish the mission. Think outside the box, try new things, and consider new solutions to existing problems. Improvise, Adapt, Overcome!

Decisiveness
Research indicates that most people make decisions intuitively rather than analytically more than 90 percent of the time. The Handbook for Marine NCOs has the following advice for modern Marines: “Make sound and timely decisions. TO make a sound decision, you should know your mission, what you are capable of doing to accomplish it, what means you have to accomplish it, and what possible impediments or obstacles exist (in combat, these would be enemy capabilities) that might stand in the way. Timeliness is also important as soundness. In many military situations, a timely, though inferior, decision is better than a long-delayed theoretically correct, decision.

Tact
Tact is the ability to communicate in the language that best allows a listener to understand the message or meaning that’s being communicated and to be motivated to act upon it. Given that background, the tactful leader chooses the language or behavior that will help the people in his audience to motivate themselves. Tact is the ability to say something or make a point in such a way that not only is the other person not offended; they are totally receptive. Being tactful comes with training and maturity but it’s also determined by making the right decisions – the right decisions about what to say, when to say it, how to say it, and who to say it to.

Integrity
Integrity in a leader is reflected by honesty as well as a desire to inspire and a devotion of values that the leader constantly tried to communicate to those he or she leads. The leader with integrity can rarely if ever relax a commitment to what he or she believes is the behavior that best reflects those closely held values. When followers see leaders acting with integrity, they are more likely to want to emulate that quality. Integrity is the cornerstone of leadership. There’s only one thing that no one can take away from you. They can take your life, they can take your savings, they can take your property, they can take everything you’ve got… but the one thing no one can take from you is you integrity, your honor. You have to voluntarily give that up. You’re the owner of your integrity. And some people sell it awfully cheap.

Endurance
The enduring leader defaults to responsibility. If something must be done, then it must be done, even if the best resources or relevant training aren’t available. During the battle of Guadalcanal, Marine John Basilone exemplified endurance when he manned his machine gun non-stop for three days and nights without sleep, rest, or food stalling the efforts of an entire enemy regiment. At the end of the battle, only three Marines from Basilone’s machinegun crew were still standing. Basilone endured with a pair of burned hands. Basilone’s asbestos gloves had been lost in the chaos and he used his bare hands to handle the hot guns.

Bearing
A Marine with bearing is driven toward a goal with purpose, jumping at opportunities with self-improvement that increase his ability to reach that goal. Bearing is about channeling that drive to other people. Leaders with bearing know where they stand, and they understand the environment in which they work. They set an example for others to follow in both attitude and behavior.

Unselfishness
Unselfish leaders make decisions that benefit as many as possible, without worrying too much about themselves. They look out for the welfare of their teams beyond simple job descriptions, legal concerns, and even their own personal comfort. And they do this most particularly in difficult situations.

Courage
Courage is never an easy commodity to find, whether it’s disciplining a subordinate, standing up to superiors, or facing swarms of charging enemies. Courage is situational; it lives in the moments when it is required by people who believe in themselves and in priorities beyond personal comfort and the risks of pain or failure. Courage is doing what’s right, adhering to a higher standard of personal conduct; to lead by example and to make tough decisions under stress and pressure. It is the inner strength that enables a Marine to take that extra step.

Knowledge
The business of knowing what to do and how to do it lifts the leader above the crowd. Knowledge goes beyond the facts of the job; it is also knowledge of your team: who they are and what motivates them. It is knowledge of the culture in which you work, so that you understand what your superior’s goals and missions are. And is also is self-knowledge: unflinchingly knowing your own strengths and weaknesses, and having a desire to excel. Sharing knowledge with subordinates can feel to some leaders as though they are giving up control, and they may be loathe to do so. In reality, though, leaders are not effective because they are the knowledge holders. Rather, the best leaders are the ones who make knowledge available to their teams and understand how best to deploy that knowledge in the best possible manner.

Loyalty
A leader expresses loyalty to his subordinates by supporting their needs and ensuring their welfare in a number of ways. Subordinates express loyalty to that sort of caring leadership by positively and efficiently carrying out the leader’s orders and instructions. Loyalty is the most common expression of aspects of all Marine Corps leadership traits and characteristics. Those who get it express it through dedication and professional performance of duty. The most loyal Marine or employee is not necessarily the one who has held the job longest. Some are simply marking time, with little or no interest in making valuable contributions to the organization.

Enthusiasm
When we’re enthusiastic about something, we’re willing to sacrifice for it. People who are enthusiastic about a cause will sacrifice time and money for it. People who are enthusiastic about their jobs will make personal sacrifices to spend time at work and educate themselves to do a better job. Men and women who are enthusiastic about being Marines understand that sacrifice might come at a very high price. Even when the requirements are difficult, enthusiastic leaders set aside any negative aspects of the mission and focus on the positive energy they can bring to the table. It’s not easy. It takes more than a little self-discipline. But it works, and a show of enthusiasm often leads to truly inspirational behavior.

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The Man In The Arena

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

~Theodore Roosevelt, Man In The Arena Speech given April 23, 1910

us-marine

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They wish to hell

Bill Mauldin (1921-2003) on Marines:

They wish to hell they were someplace else,
and they wish to hell they would get relief.

They wish to hell the mud was dry,
and they wish to hell their coffee was hot.

They want to go home.

But they stay in their wet holes and fight,
and then they climb out and crawl through minefields and fight some more.

Marines Warm Coffee - Iwo Jima
(from the book “Backbone”)
more on Bill Mauldin

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The Hypocrite

Is religion a blueprint for faith and ethical living or a means to manipulate and control?

Author Ron Winter’s just released novel The Hypocrite, seeks answers – and may well provide some – to these age old questions. In The Hypocrite Winter sets a self-described evangelist against a Marine veteran of the War on Terror who is seen by many as the quintessential agnostic. But reality and appearances clash nearly immediately and cordiality soon turns explosive.

Signed copies of The Hypocrite are available directly from the author at RonaldWinterbooks.

The Hypocrite

See also Masters of the Art

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Bury me next to a Marine

Bury me next to a Marine,
When my time comes to an end,
So I can spend eternity
Beside my brother and friend.

I’ve served beside them for years,
And they inspired me every day,
They’ve never ask for anything’
So a debt I can never repay.

None of them served for money,
None for glory or fame,
But they’ve served in every clime and place,
Heroes with but one name.

None will ever out do them,
Their honor is never outdone,
They will go down in history’
As America’s favorite sons.

Marines will never fail you,
And their guard will never cease,
Please bury me next to a Marine,
So I may rest in peace.

Written by Robert L. Owens, a 2nd Class Corpsman serving with Marines in Iraq.

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One Marine’s Story

By Richard W. Williams

I was a grunt in India Company 3/5 in 1969. But, this is not war story. This is a story about the Espirit de Corps of the 1st Marine Division. I lived in Boca Raton, Florida. Prior to joining the Marines in 1968, I learned that there was a Marine who lived close by my home.

I knocked on his door and his wife answered. I merely said I was considering joining the Marines and I understood her husband was a former Marine. I was hoping he’d let me ask him a few questions about what to expect. Like any Marine’s wife, she let me in and introduced me to her husband, “Archie.”

Archie was quite old. However, he sat in his winged-back chair with a quiet repose. In spite of his failing eyesight, he fixed me with a steady gaze, politely smiled and simply said, “Welcome aboard.” We talked the afternoon away.

Archie patiently answered my questions about the Marine Corps, Parris Island and careers in the Corps. All he related to me about his exploits in the Marines was that he loved the Corps and every minute he had served in it. As the late afternoon sun dipped on the horizon, I bid him farewell and promised I would return to see him after I finished Boot Camp.

I kept my promise and visited him nearly every day I was back from Parris Island. He and his wife were gracious hosts. As I sat and learned from Archie, his wife would serve us brandy in the afternoon to go with the cigar Archie enjoyed only once a day. I felt extremely bonded with Archie for sharing his ritual with me.

As my leave drew to a close and I prepared to go to Vietnam, Archie’s and my conversations drew deadly serious. He gave me tip after tip on how to fight and even how to win campaigns. As an enlisted snuffie, I didn’t think the High Command would be interested in my opinions on running a campaign, but I listened in utter fascination to Archie’s knowledge.

He told me what to expect in war and what not to fear. After his brandy one evening he said, “Don’t worry if you are ready for the task of war. Because no sane man is ever ready. There is only one thing that makes a good warrior and that is a man who cares for his fellow man. That is why the Marines do so well at making war. We respect each other. We’d rather die than to let down our comrades. You see, there are many reasons a young man marches off to war – patriotism, duty, honor, adventure; but only one reason he actually fights once he is in a war. He fights for the men next to him.

Marines don’t endure the hell of combat for any lofty principles. Marines fight because each Marine acknowledges the loftiest principle of all: he acknowledges and accepts the responsibility of being his brother’s keeper. That’s why you will fight. You are a Marine and you will protect your unit at all cost.”

Archie asked me to write and keep him abreast to what I experienced in Vietnam. He gave me his address. I thanked him and promised I would write as soon as I landed and found out what my FPO address would be. Without looking at it, I folded the paper and put his address in my wallet and marched off to war.

Naturally, I lost his address. However, I sent a letter to him through my father letting him know I landed and providing him with my FPO. I had been in Vietnam less than a month when I got a response from Archie. He simply asked me to tell him how we were conducting the war, what were my impressions.

The name on the return address was General Archer A. Vandegrift, USMC (Ret.). My friend, Archie, was the former CO of the 1st Marine Division (“Guadalcanal General”). He had won the Medal of Honor at Guadalcanal and later became Commandant of the Marine Corps. At PI, we had learned all about General Vandegrift. But being as dumb as a box of rocks, I never really remembered “Archie’s-” last name until his letter arrived. I just remembered it was “Van” something.

I sat down in the sweaty jungle rot and stench and began what would be a long series of letters from one snuffie to the ex-Commandant and the most famous CO of my Marine Division. I started it out simply, Dear General Vandegrift, Vietnam is like a large island where the enemy has kept a seaway open. The enemy also has a secret weapon. The seaway is the Ho Chi Minh trail. The secret weapon is their ability to use re-supply themselves using technologies that existed since the stone age. We ignore the seaway, leaving it open and try to use high technology to cause collateral damage to their stone-age production capacity.

It’s like dropping firecrackers on ants. So the enemy will continually be re-supplied. And we will continually be re-supplied. That means this fight will go on until one side or the other tires of it.

On the ground, your Marines are just that, Marines. We are doing just what you predicted, fighting for the guy next to us. Other than that, it don’t mean nothing but, what does mean something is that for all those months you never let on who you were. It was just two Marines, no rank. That’s why I serve, because of men like you who have made the Marine Corps something worthy to fight for. Semper Fidelis

The General wrote back and agreed that an enemy must be denied re-supply. A war of attrition is less costly to a Third World country then it is to a high-tech country. He said that the bombing and blockading of Haiphong Harbor and an end run up the Ho Chi Minh trail coupled with a staggered attack due north would end this war in a few months. But, without a Pearl Harbor, the American people don’t have a heart for war. That was America’s greatest strength, he said. We only like to fight when we are mad. And, when we are mad we fight like no other civilization in the history of the world.

This story isn’t about famous people I have known. I was then and am now a nobody, just a simple grunt. But, the most famous CO of the 1st Marine Division would sit down and talk to a lowly private just shows what the Marine Corps is made of.

It shows that the Corps’ motto, Semper Fidelis, is more than mere words.

It is a way of life ! ! ! !

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How the Marines have survived, and why

MAY 6, 2013, VOL. 18, NO. 32 • BY MACKUBIN THOMAS OWENS

In 1957, the commandant of the Marine Corps, General Randolph Pate, sent a brief note to the director of the Marine Corps Educational Center, Brig. Gen. Victor Krulak, in which he asked, “Why does the U.S. need a Marine Corps?” Krulak, already a legend in the Marines, penned a lengthy reply: “The United States does not need a Marine Corps mainly because she has a fine modern Army and a vigorous Air Force. .  .  . We [the Marine Corps] exist today—we flourish today—not because of what we know we are, or what we know we can do, but because of what the grassroots of our country believes we are and believes we can do.”

BOB.v18-32.May6_.Owens_Krulak went on to say that the American people believe three things about the Marines: that they will be ready to fight on short notice; that they will turn in a dramatically and decisively successful performance; and that the “Corps is downright good for the manhood of our country; that the Marines are masters of a form of unfailing alchemy which converts un-oriented youths into proud, self-reliant stable citizens—citizens into whose hands the nation’s affairs may safely be entrusted.” Krulak concluded that as long as the American people “are convinced that we can really do the three things .  .  . we are going to have a Marine Corps. .  .  . And, likewise, should the people ever lose that conviction—as a result of our failure to meet their high—almost spiritual—standards, the Marine Corps will then quickly disappear.”

Read the entire STORY

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Marines and Tootsie Rolls

LtCol Andy Traynor, USMC (Ret), and Major Dave Vickers, USMC (Ret), tell a unique story of how Marines used Tootsie Rolls during the Chosin Reservoir campaign.

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Drive On

My good friend Jim Hatch (USMC, RVN) is a talented artist and one of my favorite songs he does is called “Drive On”, written by Johnny Cash after he and his wife June returned from a USO tour in Viet Nam. With Jim’s permission, please take a minute and listen to “Drive On!

If you enjoy “Drive On”, drop Jim a note and you might even want to buy his awesome CD with more super songs.

Jim was in-country with HMM-161, H&MS-17 & VMGR-152.
His e-mail address is cwfhat@pacbell.net

Another good friend, Gordon Boswell 1st Force Recon, Vietnam, says when times get tough, he remembers this song and just drives on!

Share your thoughts.

“Drive On”

I got a friend named Whiskey Sam
He was my boonierat buddy for a year in Nam
He said I think my country got a little off track
Took ’em twenty-five years to welcome me back
But, it’s better than not coming back at all
Many a good man
I saw fall And even now,
every time I dream I hear the men
and the monkeys in the jungle scream

Drive on, don’t mean nothin’
My children love me , but they don’t understand
And I got a woman who knows her man
Drive on, don’t mean nothin’, drive on

I remember one night,
Tex and me Rappelled in on a hot L.Z.
We had our 16’s on rock and roll
But, with all that fire,
was scared and cold
We were crazy, we were wild
And I have seen the tiger smile
I spit in a bamboo viper’s face
And I’d be dead , but by God’s grace

Drive on, don’t mean nothin’
My children love me, but they don’t understand
And I got a woman who knows her man
Drive on, don’t mean nothin’, drive on

It was a real slow walk in a real sad rain
And nobody tried to be John Wayne
I came home, but Tex did not
And I can’t talk about the hit he got
I got a little limp now when
I walk Got a little tremolo when
I talk But my letter read from Whiskey Sam
You’re a walkin’ talkin’ miracle from Vietnam

Drive on, don’t mean nothin’
My children love me, but they don’t understand
And I got a woman who knows her man
Drive on, don’t mean nothin’, drive on

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