by Andy Weddington
Wednesday, 03 July 2013
Since publishing 'A Public Letter to the Commandant of the Marine Corps' last week, my inbox, but more so my heart and spirit, has been overwhelmed.
Original artwork - by the author
Marines, and others too, are angry; they care. And care deeply about what is happening, to that which they bear witness - to the destruction of their beloved Corps, and decline of their country.
Many said it took courage to write that letter. And that sentiment is certainly appreciated. But it does not take courage, nor thought, to do what is right. One merely acts - steps forward - and does what must be done. That is how I was taught and how I was raised. And that is what Marines are trained to do.
Without aide nor secretary, I've tried to kindly answer each and all. If missing anyone, forgive me; please.
Marines of all generations - World War II to Afghanistan - and ranks - private to general, took a moment to share their thoughts and to offer support. Some language is a bit too colorful to repeat, not meeting the decorum for this forum. But that language is how Marines talk when disappointed, disgusted, and angered. And yet reflects their loyalty of the first order to "Semper Fidelis" - not just a bumper sticker but a way of life. Though one senior Marine wrote those two words, our motto, once written with great pride now bring sadness when putting to pen.
To date, from hundreds, nary a dissenter is there yet to be. And that says aplenty.
As to ground combat, young Marines report that women are an unnecessary and unwanted distraction - their force multiplying factor not negligible but degrading. And their officers affirm, whether on patrol or standing combat operations center watch, women are a distraction and a headache they don't need nor want.
So whilst young Marines - corporals and sergeants and lieutenants and captains - are levied with the burden of leading the fight and tasked with constraining, hopelessly, God's and Mother Nature's way, politicians and appointees, those who come and go, continue to direct silliness. And, in turn, the political generals and admirals (who never dealt with these dopey ideas and never will) salute and obey and order their troops - while slickly explaining it's all good and A-Okay.
Oh the irony that shiny stars completely obscure what the common man of logical thought clearly sees - day and night. Reality, it is.
And as the adage goes, 'To the man who does not have to do it himself, nothing is impossible.' But that just is not the Marine Corps way. Marine officers lead - from the front. And Marine officers eat last - from the front. At least most still do - for that, "Marines first," is the ethos of the Marine Corps.
One Marine, a combat veteran, with nearly four decades of service to Corps and Country, disturbed by what is happening to our Corps and military - open homosexuality and the inane push to assign women to ground combat units (including the infantry) thereby "gender-norming" (marginalizing strength and endurance standards) wondered, in retrospect, if those were now wasted years. Imagine! Father Time to eventually spare the pain, so offered that Old Corps Marine.
And that Marine's feelings more common than not.
So following the lead of that Marine general who, two score and two years ago, supposed about women fighting at the Chosin Reservoir before Congress he did - let's suppose 15 or 20% of the Marines who landed on the fire-swept black sand beaches of Iwo Jima were women: 1) Would our Marines have prevailed?; 2) Would our colors have been raised atop Suribachi?
And what about victories e.g., Guadalcanal; Tarawa; Okinawa; et al., throughout the South Pacific - would they have been?
Contemplate and think for a moment, if you please.
It matters not where I travel nor ease, that ghost of a Marine Corps Commandant past, General Robert H. Barrow, trails and haunts in the still and in the breeze.
"Colonel, enough rest you've had! Now the field, our Marines and others, are taking note. This is what next, I want you to say. Tell them. Tell them. And tell them straight-out. Keep it simple and gentlemanly, and firm, but do not shout."
"Yes, Sir, I will and so I shall absolutely comply. For whom am I but a mere colonel sounding the alarm initiated from a brother Marine far wiser than I."
Those Marines and others, each and all who wrote me in reply, are concerned about our Marine Corps - there's a common theme throughout their remarks.
Thinking about their words and the General's suggest, it seems rather simple as there's been time to digest. Words. For it is words and what they mean that are now at severe test.
Our Pledge of Allegiance...
"I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
Allegiance is to our Flag, to our country, to our Republic - not to any man, woman, nor administration. It is simple. It is clear. That is the vow, the duty of every single citizen. Otherwise, leave.
Oath of Office (military officer)...
" I, I. M. A. Marine, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the office upon which I am about to enter. So help me God."
Support and defend the Constitution of the United States [our country] against all enemies; foreign and domestic...true faith and allegiance to the same...without mental reservation or purpose of evasion...will well and faithfully discharge the office upon which I am about to enter.
There is no mention of faithfulness, of allegiance, to any man, woman, nor administration.
And a military officer's commission...
"The President of the United States of America
To all who shall see these presents, greeting:
Know Ye that, reposing special trust and confidence in the patriotism, valor, fidelity and abilities of (name), I do appoint (him/her) a (rank) in the (branch of service) to rank as such from the (date) day of (month/year). This officer will therefore carefully and diligently discharge the duties to which appointed by doing and performing all manner of things thereunto belonging."
And the commission continues addressing the duration; where done; etc.
Note the words, "special trust and confidence; patriotism; valor; fidelity; abilities".
And now pause to think about the language, collectively, of our Pledge of Allegiance and Oath of Office and the military officer's commission.
The commission continues...
"And this Officer is to observe and follow such orders and directives, from time to time, as may be given by me, or the future President of the United States of America, or other Superior Officers acting in accordance with the laws of the United States of America."
Note, especially, the words "acting in accordance with the laws of the United States of America."
How about our Constitution?
Again, allegiance is sworn to country, to the Constitution - not to any man, woman, nor administration.
Our dear Flag of broad stripes and bright stars and aged but enduring Constitution like no other ever - are being trampled upon by men, women, and administration. That is wrong! And that must not stand.
From the White House and throughout the Cabinet, corruption; disdain; foul play; scandals; lying; and contempt aplenty and against Americans, too - from targeting of citizens to the Department of Homeland Security stockpiling weapons and ammunition. And on it goes. And we wonder why?
Someone, anyone, make the case, that today, domestic enemies we do not face?!
The Congress, representing the people, have sworn duty to stop it. For defense and protection of our Constitution is their oath, too. But with rare exception, if any at all, they too are corrupt. They are inept. And so loudly opines the citizenry in poll after poll. Is Congress moot? Does the populace give a hoot?
Those in uniform have sworn oaths to country, to Constitution - not to any man, woman, nor administration.
More than a few Marines, and others too, who wrote me believe we indeed face domestic enemies - enemies we could not have imagined so in our naïve lackadaisical haste did not ready for. More than a few elders have mentioned that though, throughout their life, there's been disagreement between the political parties as to the direction of America never have they seen an administration blatantly working to destroy our country. We are there.
But scabbards now rattle! Yes they do.
The murders of four Americans in Benghazi is awful enough - our brethren, in service to country, abandoned while under attack. Our powerful, capable military ordered to stand down - an unfathomable command amidst attack. Who, what treasonous fool, so gave that command? Who? Step forward you coward! Americans do not abandon their brothers in battle nor ever flee from a fight.
The outrage burns still.
And on goes the silly circus to uncover facts - while men, women, and administration lie, and lie, and lie with the aim to create pure fiction and bury the truth.
But had they been four Marines Americans best know that Marines, coast to coast, and not surprisingly so, would have armed with gun and blade, and formed, and marched towards Washington, D.C. - a Task Force Objective our capital city would be.
That is, to storm our House and take the Hill.
Who knows, maybe Marines still will.
I'm reading 'The Savior Generals' by Victor Davis Hanson. His book is a study of a handful of generals from Ancient Greece to Iraq who turned the tide of battle - from apparent loss to victory; one warrior making the difference.
It struck me, and pointing back to last week's letter to the commandant, that U. S. Marine Corps generals General Wilson and General Barrow, 26th and 27th Commandants, were Savior Generals; of sorts.
Yes, both were battlefield heroes - General Wilson earning the Medal of Honor and General Barrow the Navy Cross and Silver Star, but it was their battle on Capitol Hill, in '76, they fought and won preserving recruit training - that saved the Marine Corps from going to hell.
When leading our Corps, General Barrow offered three words, it's true, "Keep the faith" - he inscribed and that I ever strive.
But God help us, Americans all, if our Corps colors and decals disappear and if that hearty greeting between Marines - "Semper Fi" - ever dies.
Remember, allegiance to country. And, true to Corps.
That Savior General I see, who most determinedly speaks to me.
But wherest our Savior General(s)?
Does such warrior(s) exist, anymore?
America needs only one - to do what must be done.
Whomever, their time is now.
And that general, that commander, to be forever revered as one among few. That is a fact - it's historically true.
Tomorrow we celebrate - Happy Birthday, America! Happy Birthday! But for how many more, as only some candles afire?
1. Fortitudine: with fortitude. The first motto of our Corps.
2. Marines: 1) Active; 2) Reserve; 3) Retired; 4) Not in a duty status; 5) Dead.
Length of service is irrelevant, there are no "ex" nor "former" Marines. Once earning the title "Marine" and right and privilege to wear the eagle, globe, and anchor - it's for eternity. 'Once a Marine, always a Marine!'