MARINE OR NOT, HIKE YOUR HIKE
By Andy Weddington
Thursday, 10 September 2020
When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of he always declares that it is his duty. George Bernard Shaw
Rarely other than nonfiction for me.
Yesterday two passages - one morning, one evening - caused another rarity for me: Aloud laughter while reading.
Long before sunrise, page 114 second to the last full sentence in the fabulous 'Return to Moose River,' this gem by author Earl Brechlin ...
"The game apparently will be to get to the bottom of the falls before the canoe becomes a submarine."
With that I grabbed the iPad and sent quick messages to two submarine friends, for their sense of humor, recommending the book.
Alone, a funny sentence. In context, hilarious triggering that audible laugh. Fortunately, our library far enough from the bedroom to not disturb my wife; Sailors need their rest.
Also, from Mr. Brechlin, and comrades with whom he shares out-of-doors adventures in the wild of Maine and elsewhere and writes about, came this more serious pearl for life, "Hike your own hike." [Note: own is redundant so I removed it, claimed, and used for title today.]
That had me pause and close eyes - reflecting on challenging things Marine. And hiking. And hiking. And more.
I returned to the book and finished it early afternoon; no loose ends but sure hope there's sequel.
Next a backyard project underway required inspection. I marveled at the two craftsman. Our only mutual language sign so I smiled and clapped. Smiles confirmed understanding and I left them to carry on.
Honesty and pride in work (seems) so rare anymore. These men artists; I could not do what they do.
Then late in the evening two notes, from Marines, unexpected, came my way.
First, stemming from a cursory look at (my book) 'MAKING MARINES' ...
" ... as I leafed through the pages I was stunned by the evocative nature of the simple lines you weave into memories. My back ached looking at the recruit in that perfect sitting position. I could hear the snap of rifles and smell the sweat and LSA stained range jackets. The exhaustion, pride, and stress highlighted with ... "
His conclusion my aim - the thoughtful note making my day.
And an hour or so later a short passage in a published yesterday article titled 'Marine Commandant Letting Down Women and the Corps' by the Center for Military Readiness.
As to trying to get more women (Marines) into the infantry, driven by the illogical (wacky more like it) "gender diversity metrics," the Commandant, General David Berger, when questioned during a recent interview as to why said ...
"We're going to fight and operate better if we're a more diverse force. We're not doing it to be politically correct, but science proves that if you have a more diverse group of people, you are going to reach decisions, you're going to operate better."
Two sentences of nonsense. The first countered by exhaustive field research and data (at least as far as Marine ground is concerned) not to mention old-fashioned common horse sense. The second void truth.
What came to mind ...
1. From the deeps of memory a remark by Admiral Hyman Rickover when asked to what he attributed his success that went something like, "I obeyed every order I agreed with."
2. The "conflict" between obedience and moral courage. Obedience is not a leadership trait. Courage, moral and physical, is a leadership trait. That is, simply, duty to do what is right.
3. If 10-15% of the force that took Iwo Jima had been female, would a flag been raised atop Mount Suribachi?
4. And, could General Berger, 38th Commandant, face the late General Robert H. Barrow, USMC, 27th Commandant (first commandant under whom I served and who absolutely opposed women in combat, especially ground, and gender integrated entry-level training) and adamantly make his case without hesitant speech, flinching, averting eyes, hanging head, and gobbledygook?
1. Courage. Hike your hike.
2. Admirals and generals are not admirals and generals.
Then to the rack.
And up hours BMNT (Before Morning Nautical Twilight).
In closing ...
Must Read! 'Return to Moose River' - In Search of the Spirit of the Great North Woods. It's about Maine. We lived in the far north reaches when I was a toddler when dad a young U. S. Air Force NCO and part of Strategic Air Command. I hold memories of the wild and fishing for trout (somewhere I've a photo documenting first catch) - the book clarified some of them, and maybe uncovered a few others. Difficult to put down, at times leaves you shaking your head. You'll laugh aloud at humans being human!
Read the CMR article: https://www.cmrlink.org/issues/full/marine-commandant-letting-down-women-and-the-corps Not so difficult to understand, the sane will leave shaking their head. You'll laugh aloud at human stupidity; turning canoe into submarine!
Admiral Rickover, father of the nuclear Navy, "Optimism and stupidity are nearly synonymous." To that, nary reservation General Barrow would agree: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fy--whDNNKk
Alas, a few copies of 'MAKING MARINES' available - if desiring to see and smell recruit training before gender integration; pre political correctness infection. The numbered/signed, personalized if you wish, edition is 232. When gone gone. https://www.weddingtonartgallery.com/books
Okay, back to coffee and the BDR (Basic Daily Routine).
Tomorrow, don't forget, we remember.