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Marines do it their own way
MSNBC ^ | 9/30/01 | Sue Lackey

Posted on 09/30/2001 2:28:55 PM PDT by kattracks

A different approach to special forces   Image: U. S. M arine At Camp Pendleton
A Marine awaits orders during urban war training exercises last week at Camp Pendleton, California.
 
By Sue Lackey
MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR
Sept. 30 —  For the average Marine, it is both amusing and a bit galling to hear all the talk about “special forces” and their capabilities. For while the Army, Navy and Air Force have created Special Operations Commands with a unique structure, the Marine Corps has taken its basic forward deployed unit — the Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) — and trained every one in special operations tactics.

THE FAMED Delta Force is often celebrated as the nation’s most elite special operations team, but its position as a member of the the Army’s Joint Special Operations Command gives it a narrow focus restricted to counterterrorism and hostage rescue. In contrast, each MEU must be qualified in 18 separate mission areas, including counter terrorism. This broad focus in training and qualifications makes the Marine unit more versatile than any other service’s special operations forces.
       Gen. Alfred M. Gray, who served as Commandant of the Marine Corps in the early 1980s, helped create the Joint Special Operations Command. But while the command often requests Marines to flesh out its capability, the Corps is the only service which has refused to join the command at an organizational level. “It goes against the reason the Marine Corps was developed,” says a Marine officer who is a special operations specialist. “It would have forced the Corps to focus on one mission, when the nation needed an amphibious force for forcible entry, with much broader capabilities.”
       Under a recent reform of the system, traditional special operations forces forces are assigned to specific theater Commanders in Chief — for instance, the Commander in Chief, Europe or the Commander in Chief, Southern Command, which handles Latin America. East of these commands have units with specific specialties, and depend on that regional commander for support. MEU’s, however, an amphibious force that can be deployed at will to any theater. Their floating base of operations gives them the ability to sustain a mission longer than other special operations forces, which are traditionally used for short term insertions, or in the case of the Green Berets, specific insurgency training missions.
 

      The true strength of the MEUs lie in their ability to augment their forces with air and ground combat elements and combat service support. This means any given unit can call in tanks, amphibious assault vehicles, and fixed wing aircraft — all of which are part of standard MEU order of battle. Other special operations forces must rely on conventional service support when additional forces are needed.
       A perfect example of this versatility was in the 1983 Grenada invasion, where Army special forces were inserted to extract U.S. Embassy staff. The team was able to reach their target, but were then bottled up inside the embassy and unable to get out through enemy troops. The JSOC team then called for Marine support. An MEU which had been diverted to Grenada broke through with tanks and armored vehicles to extract their colleagues and the embassy personnel they had rescued.
       The way in which special operations training has been integrated into the basic structure of the Corps has changed the capabilities of the Corps as a whole. The other military services are large enough to allow their SF units to function in some degree of separation. Because the Marine Corps is so small in numbers, its SOC qualified personnel rotate on duty throughout the Corps, which has enhanced the overall quality of training and identification with special operations forces. Most of these men have now percolated to the top of the command structure. “It’s been in place so long now that a lot of the flag officers grew up with this-they’re Al Gray’s boys,” said one Marine special operations veteran. “That’s what you do not get in the other special forces, because they tend to stay in their own areas. When they do go into other units to further their careers, they have problems integrating within the conventional forces and its military bureaucracy. They don’t do well as staff officers; they want to go back to their unit.”
       That lack of experienced special forces officers at high levels to give special forces a voice allows other branches of the conventional forces to marginalize the effectiveness of special operations in budget battles and mission planning — a situation the Marine Corps has managed to avoid.

       



TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: marines
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1 posted on 09/30/2001 2:28:55 PM PDT by kattracks
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To: kattracks
I have known some Marines. They are quite a remarkable group. They rock, actually.
2 posted on 09/30/2001 2:35:11 PM PDT by Bahbah
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To: kattracks
Gen. Alfred M. Gray, who served as Commandant of the Marine Corps in the early 1980s,

Gray was Commandant from July 1987 through June of 1991.

The Marines who rescued Scott O'Grady in June of 1995 were run of the mill grunts and wingers doing what they've all been trained to do and practice on a regular basis. America gets the most bang for it's defense dollar with the Corps. A hearty Semper Fi to all my fellow Devil Dogs past and present around the globe.


3 posted on 09/30/2001 2:41:40 PM PDT by SMEDLEYBUTLER
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To: kattracks
In Viet Nam I learned to judge character and admire men with better character than I. This si where I learned to admire Marines.
4 posted on 09/30/2001 2:44:11 PM PDT by Iris7
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To: Bahbah
I was privileged to be part of a MEU in 91-92. The training was VERY comprehensive. A "few" good men who can pull off just about anything (including Scout Snipers that could slice off Osama's left ear at 1000 meters ... and then his nose ... and then his right thumb ... and ... --- the proverbial "death of a thousand cuts").
5 posted on 09/30/2001 2:47:27 PM PDT by AngrySpud
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To: kattracks
BTTT
6 posted on 09/30/2001 2:51:41 PM PDT by firewalk
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To: SMEDLEYBUTLER
Let me remind the people that General Smedley Butler USMC won TWO Medals of Honor.

Perhaps the Marine Medal of Honor recipient I admire most is General Merritt "Red Mike" Edson, his Medal of Honor won at Edson's Ridge on Guadalcanal. "Red Mike" Edson was on track to be Commandant of the Corps but left active duty to achieve two things - the independence of the Corps and that Second Amendment powerhouse and defender of our liberties, the modern National Rifle Association of America. Before Past President Merritt Edson the National Rifle Association was only an association of shooting clubs.

7 posted on 09/30/2001 2:54:01 PM PDT by Iris7
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To: kattracks
Semper Fidelis.

America can always count on the Marines.

8 posted on 09/30/2001 2:58:05 PM PDT by LibKill
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To: Semper Fi Marines!!!
Semper Fi to the Marines headed into harms way!

Thanks for this post!

Regards,

TS

9 posted on 09/30/2001 3:01:03 PM PDT by The Shrew
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To: kattracks
bump
10 posted on 09/30/2001 3:02:27 PM PDT by packrat01
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To: kattracks
Plus Marines have the best uniforms. (was always envious of my jarhead brethren for their uniforms.)
11 posted on 09/30/2001 3:10:00 PM PDT by Prodigal Son
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To: Iris7
Oorah... These are the best rifle men. I know 'cause I compete with them. Semper Fi.
12 posted on 09/30/2001 3:11:44 PM PDT by Toidylop
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To: kattracks
I think it is good that there is a degree of rivalry between the different branches of service, and even between specialized force groups, when we have the luxury of such things in peacetime.

But it's time to drop it. We're all in the same boat, and we have a common mission to eradicate the threat to our nation and its people. It's going to take the skills and capabilities of everyone, from the cop on the beat and the firefighter on the truck, to the FBI and intelligence services, to every single member of our armed forces, regular and reserve.

I don't think we really, truly understand the scope of what we are facing. The terrorists' numbers might be small in absolute terms, but they are spread out and dug in across two-thirds of the northern hemisphere.

We're going to need all the tools we have at our disposal, both on the frontlines and on the homefront, to get through this thing.

God Bless President George W. Bush, and God Save the United States of America.

13 posted on 09/30/2001 3:32:48 PM PDT by Illbay
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To: Illbay
But it's time to drop it.

Hogwash. It's long past time that America knows that one branch of the military didn't succumb to that Commie Clinton and his gang of fellow lefties on the Hill who have attempted and in some cases succeeded in weakening the United States and it's ability to defend itself. America doesn't need a Marine Corps. America wants a Marine Corps. Because of this trust the taxpayer deserves to know that there are 170,000+ warriors who take the extraordinary and make it ordinary. Our sister services as well as the average citizen would be well served to follow the Corps' lead, although history has shown that they have been reluctant and unwilling to do so in the past.

14 posted on 09/30/2001 4:26:26 PM PDT by SMEDLEYBUTLER
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To: kattracks
Symbol of Marine Corps Resolve
A Marine Corps flag stands watch as a silent sentinel of the recent destruction at the Pentagon.
Official USMC photo

15 posted on 09/30/2001 4:32:18 PM PDT by Texas_Jarhead
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To: kattracks

Aboard the USS Tarawa (LHA-1), a 21-gun salute is fired in
honor of the Marines and Sailors who paid the ultimate sacrifice during
the assault on Tarawa in November 1943.  The ceremony was one of two
conducted Aug. 29, by 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations
Capable) and ships of Tarawa Amphibious Ready Group, and the force
steamed past the Tarawa Atoll.  The 13th MEU(SOC) is currently on a
six-month deployment to the Western Pacific and Arabian Gulf.


******** High resolution photo to be attached later *********** Photo by: SSgt. Stephen Gude

PhotoID: 200083155016
Submitted by: 13th MEU
Operation/Exercise/Event:
13th MEU Deployment


Caption:
Aboard the USS Tarawa (LHA-1), a 21-gun salute is fired in
honor of the Marines and Sailors who paid the ultimate sacrifice during
the assault on Tarawa in November 1943. The ceremony was one of two
conducted Aug. 29, by 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations
Capable) and ships of Tarawa Amphibious Ready Group, and the force
steamed past the Tarawa Atoll. The 13th MEU(SOC) is currently on a
six-month deployment to the Western Pacific and Arabian Gulf.


16 posted on 09/30/2001 4:34:13 PM PDT by Texas_Jarhead
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To: Texas_Jarhead
Semper Fi, bro.

L

17 posted on 09/30/2001 4:35:48 PM PDT by Lurker
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To: kattracks
Having been married to a former combat Marine for several years, I can say that the "preparedness" never leaves. In times like these it is great to have all of that confidence in the house.

If you have a kid wanting to enlist - go Marine Corp. the level of seriousness they have for their craft is remarkable and it starts with their education in warfare - my husband is a mini-expert on nearly every battle because of the Marines and their determination never to "reinvent" the wheel but go forward with their objective. They might be "jarheads" but the jar is full of intellect.

Two weeks ago we attended the MCRD graduation in San Diego and I am happy to report that those boys have become men.

18 posted on 09/30/2001 4:39:53 PM PDT by labusiness
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To: kattracks; CHIEF negotiator; COB1; tet68; Scuttlebutt; 68-69TonkinGulfYatchClub; Mud Puppy; Teacup
Thank you for this post, kattracks.

Calling in a few friends..:))

19 posted on 09/30/2001 4:43:25 PM PDT by LadyX
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To: kattracks
Semper Fi bump ..... and you better believe that these men have blood in the eyes and murder in their hearts when they go after the Taliban.

Nobody is going to do that to America and live.

20 posted on 09/30/2001 4:51:26 PM PDT by Centurion2000
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To: SMEDLEYBUTLER
Hogwash. It's long past time that America knows that one branch of the military didn't succumb to that Commie Clinton ...

Oh, I see. So in this time of trouble and turmoil, when Americans of every political persuasion are coming together for the common good, YOUR primary concern is that "eveyone in America" knows that Clinton was a Commie.

Oh, and that would be the America that voted for him twice, and nearly voted for him a third time, by proxy, in the person of Algore.

IOW, you think that after 8 1/2 years, Americans are finally gonna "get it" because some of the Marines' boosters (that would be yourself) want to continue a pointless p*ssing contest with the other branches of the service.

If you're haven't yet reached adulthood, please forgive what I'm about to say. But you are an adolescent moron.

We have far more at stake here than your endorphin levels. We happen to be at war, and it will take every man-jack of us--even a hyper-extenuated teenager like yourself--to pull through this thing.

And if you're trying to convince ME that our other SpecOps assets are without any merit, and ONLY the USMC can save the day, then you've failed. I happen to respect and admire ALL of our highly-trained and highly-motivated fighting men, the Marines not least of all.

Go back to your comic books. The adults have work to do.

21 posted on 09/30/2001 4:58:31 PM PDT by Illbay
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To: SMEDLEYBUTLER
It's long past time that America knows that one branch of the military didn't succumb to that Commie Clinton and his gang of fellow lefties on the Hill who have attempted and in some cases succeeded in weakening the United States and it's ability to defend itself.

I have to agree with you. I'll never forget when Clinton's female Deputy SECDEF got on national television, and called the Marine Corps "an extremist organization." She confirmed the idiocy of their whole mindset.

22 posted on 09/30/2001 5:04:41 PM PDT by FlyVet
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To: LadyX
"Calling in a few friends..:))"

Reporting for duty Lady Marine!
*SALUTE!*
This tin can sailor has the utmost respect for the Marines!
23 posted on 09/30/2001 5:15:38 PM PDT by 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub
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To: Illbay
I think you misinterpret SMEDLEYBUTLER's words. The Marines have always stood apart. It is well that they do. I speak as a former naval officer who saw up close and personal what a different breed of cat they are.

The people in this country who need to grow up are the ones who think we can have Congress mandate handicapped access battlefields or that calling the nearest female a "naval aviator" makes her one.

And if SMEDLEYBUTLER will accept the salute from a cousin ... Semper Fi.

24 posted on 09/30/2001 5:25:43 PM PDT by Gumlegs
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To: Illbay
"And if you're trying to convince ME that our other SpecOps assets are without any merit, and ONLY the USMC can save the day, then you've failed."

Junior, we Gyrenes don't give an airborne sex act what you believe!
People like you couldn't last the first day of boot, much less a firefight.
There are some real heroes on this forum, and a lot of them are my fellow Marines.
When you step on one of their toes you step on mine and all the rest of us, and I assure you, you don't want to do that!

There has always been a rivalry between the services and there always will be. It's part of the life of being military.
Try a hitch in the Corps before you start evaluating any part of our psyche.

25 posted on 09/30/2001 5:40:17 PM PDT by COB1
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To: COB1,onedoug
"There has always been a rivalry between the services and there always will be."

How very true, but what some people do not understand is that
when the fighting takes place all military,
regardless of what branch, stand together as one.
In Feb '69 my ship was involved in Operation Bold Mariner
which at that time was the largest amphibious assault since Korea.
I was injured while clearing a hangfire of a 5" willy peter round in the forward gun mount.
All we had on board was a corpsman, no MD's, so I had to go to the nearest ship with a hospital (USS Iwo Jima).
When I was in the hospital there I spoke with many wounded Marines.
And everyone of them thanked me for being a gunners mate and giving them gunfire support.
26 posted on 09/30/2001 5:58:39 PM PDT by 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub
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To: SMEDLEYBUTLER
General Gray was my Commandant during my term.

The difference between the Corps under Al 'Fireplug' Gray, and under P.X. Kelley his predecesor, was a very stark contrast.

Immediately following Boot Camp, I was one of the first of six SOI (School of Infantry) platoons that was selected for an experiment at Camp Geiger called 'MCT' (Marine Combat Training). They stretched us to the breaking point, then calibrated the training down a pip and instituted it in regular Basic Training called 'The Crucible'.

In USMC Basic, the 'Crucible' lasts two days. For us, it went on for eight weeks. Sleep deprivation, poor living conditions, scarce food, MOUT training, and a 21-mile road march (no roads that I saw, BTW) came at us with no warning when we thought we were going to hit the rack one evening. Two days later, we humped 21 miles back -- again with no warning. Lots of head games, physical fitness regimens, mixed with some outstanding training in weapons that even the old lifer sergeants hadn't even seen yet.

Toughest time of my life. School of Infantry training was actually a few steps down in pain, by comparison. That was when the fun came in: Amphibious assaults by LCAC (hovercrafts) and Amtracs, doing 'Jacob's Ladder' drills from Gator Navy ships, etc. All the MEU and BLT exercises.

General Gray was a son-of-a-bitch, let me tell you. I only appreciated it after MCT was over. Everyone was taken to the limits, even the instructors. I was only 20 years old then.

I'm sure I'd die if I tried to do it again at my age. :)

27 posted on 09/30/2001 6:00:52 PM PDT by The KG9 Kid
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To: kattracks
As an airdale on the USS New Orleans (LPH-11), it was an honor and a privilege to provide support and transportation for the Marine units. If only they would have left something in the ship's store to buy.
28 posted on 09/30/2001 6:12:50 PM PDT by A Navy Vet
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To: The KG9 Kid
I missed MCT by one Boot cycle as I recall. DI's told us about it near graduation. Although we did participate in an experimental Rifle Qual course (can't recall it's designation) but it was interesting. It was a dynamic course, fire and move with pop-up targets. It even included a portion with gas masks dawned. I enjoyed it. Seemed much more realistic than standard Rifle Qual. course. Although I always found 500 yards challenging (hit 7 out 10 bulls at Edson Range almost scoring high enough to get my name on that Trophy in the chow hall).

Semper Fidelis
29 posted on 09/30/2001 6:16:29 PM PDT by Texas_Jarhead
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To: 68-69TonkinGulfYatchClub
"all military, regardless of what branch, stand together as one."

Unless they've been military, Tonkin, they won't understand that.
The closest I can come to your experience are the bar fights we used to have with the swabbies in San Diego who were our best buddies the next night.

30 posted on 09/30/2001 6:17:35 PM PDT by COB1
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To: Prodigal Son
Plus Marines have the best uniforms

There is not many a finer sight than a Marine in his dress uniform.

31 posted on 09/30/2001 6:19:51 PM PDT by riley1992
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To: Illbay
"I don't think we really, truly understand the scope of what we are facing."

There are many things that you don't understand illbay, with the inter-service rivalry being just one. For a panty-waist like yourself to be calling Smedleybutter an "adolescent moron" is laughable. Why don't you tell us about your service record, illbay?

32 posted on 09/30/2001 6:28:15 PM PDT by Godebert
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To: The KG9 Kid
General Gray was a son-of-a-bitch, let me tell you. I only appreciated it after MCT was over

I couldn't help but think about my Dad when I read that. He was a USMC lifer who survived WWII and Korea while all of his best friends didn't. As a boy I wondered why he was such a tough SOB, but of course that was what allowed him to survive and why he demanded the best efforts from others.

BTW, he is still going strong.

33 posted on 09/30/2001 6:45:53 PM PDT by OK
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To: SMEDLEYBUTLER,Mudpuppy,Katracks
Semper Fidelis. Yes we (Mr. Teacup and I) know these folk very well, LOL. Mr Teacup was part of the MEF.
34 posted on 09/30/2001 6:59:07 PM PDT by Teacup
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To: LadyX
Thanks for the Semper Fidelis bump. 226 years this November 10th.
35 posted on 09/30/2001 7:01:54 PM PDT by Teacup
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To: SMEDLEYBUTLER
I agree, the Army probably wastes more than the entire Marine Corps budget in a given fiscal year. BTW I'm a 14 year vet of the Active Army and National Guard. The Marines also have a more streamlined procurement system, and they consistently develop better and more practical gear for their soldiers.
36 posted on 09/30/2001 7:03:24 PM PDT by Tailback
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To: Gumlegs
The Marines have always stood apart. It is well that they do.

I think you misunderstood MY statement. At this point, this is about as apropos as arguing who's going to win the Army-Navy game.

It ain't about the winner of the p*ssing contest these days. The only contest is with the enemy.

37 posted on 09/30/2001 7:04:09 PM PDT by Illbay
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To: COB1
Junior, we Gyrenes don't give an airborne sex act what you believe!

And I, in turn, don't care what you think about the folks paying your salary, so long as you get the job done.

38 posted on 09/30/2001 7:07:21 PM PDT by Illbay
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To: Godebert
There are many things that you don't understand illbay, with the inter-service rivalry being just one.

I understand inter-service rivalry perfectly well. Go back and read my post (let me know if you need help with the long words).

What I said was, there is a time and a place for everything, and NOW is not the time, and the MIDDLE EAST is not the place, for a stupid-*ss teenage p*ssing contest.

39 posted on 09/30/2001 7:09:46 PM PDT by Illbay
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To: SMEDLEYBUTLER
Do you mean that the commies didn't make them sew 'diversity quilts' like they did the CIA? I'm still trying to figure out who made them 'paste, color, and sew' these quilts. I would have QUIT! Welcome to the SICKO world of 'sensitivity training'. Seven thousand people gave their lives because of it and I want someone to pay! To start the list of SICKOS...
Bill Clinton
Hillary Clinton
Al Gore
Madeline Albright
Sandy Berger
Janet Reno
40 posted on 09/30/2001 7:10:40 PM PDT by kcvl
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To: labusiness
I no what you mean-- my sweetie is a Marine. (I say "is", because he always tells me that there are no former Marines-- once a Marine, always a Marine.)
41 posted on 09/30/2001 7:20:02 PM PDT by walden
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To: no one in particular
The Marines have been America's Special Forces since the begining of this nation.
Let the Naysayers break out the History books, and read of the Commando raid on Bermuda By the first Commandant.
The attack was so swift and overwhelming that the British literly got caught with their pants down around their ankles
And the Marines have been doing it ever since, Lt Presley O'Bannon Marched his Marines through 600 miles of the Sahara to capture a fort on "the shores of Tripoli",
The reason he did so President Jefferson sent him to stop the Barbary Pirates from terrorising American shipping.
Before the Green Berets, Delta, and the Seals, there were the Marine Raiders, which was disbanded because it couldn't do anymore than the average marine unit.
I known I am going to catch flak for that one but the reason does not have a special forces unit in it, is that by their actions Marines have always proven that they are America's premier go any where do anything force.
I'm rambling instead of reading again, Semper Fi out
42 posted on 09/30/2001 7:25:11 PM PDT by usmcobra
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To: walden; CHIEF negotiator; COB1
"(I say "is", because he always tells me that there are no former Marines-- once a Marine, always a Marine.)"

Every one of us says the same thing - it is so..:)))

43 posted on 09/30/2001 7:26:06 PM PDT by LadyX
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To: Illbay
"so long as you get the job done."

I'll tell you what, hotshot - if they don't "get the job done" why don't you fire 'em and do it yourself?

44 posted on 09/30/2001 7:32:23 PM PDT by COB1
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To: Tailback
The Marines also have a more streamlined procurement system, and they consistently develop better and more practical gear for their soldiers.

The army has soliders, the air force has airmen, the navy has sailors, and the Marines have Marines. Please get it right!

45 posted on 09/30/2001 7:33:26 PM PDT by dpa5923
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To: The Shrew
May God protect you brave Marines, Seals, and Special Forces as you move into the evil snakepit of Afghanistan on your scared mission.
46 posted on 09/30/2001 7:37:44 PM PDT by TheGoodDoc
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To: usmcobra; CHIEF negotiator; COB1
Wonderful rant!
Thanks.
47 posted on 09/30/2001 7:38:07 PM PDT by LadyX
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To: Texas_Jarhead
Yes, there were a lot of changes going on in the Corps at that time. I remember a lot of things that Marines a few stripes over me were saying that were brand new, and tougher than they remember it. It was a rare time in the Corps when people *weren't* saying that 'it was a lot tougher in the Old Corps'. Heheh...

I still have nightmares about this one event: A 5-mile hauling-butt run over gravel that was the consistency of greasy marbles carrying a full combat load: Flak jacket, full load of blank ammo, weapons (I carried an M2 receiver with the bolt inside plus my rifle), helmet, ALICE pack, and two MREs in my cargo pockets.

It was just horrible. Running too fast to drink water, and I was dying for just a drop. When we were through, just about everyone was flipping around on the deck like a fish out of water. I think I drank two gallons of hot water from one of those plastic salmon-colored jerry cans that had been baking in the sunlight all day. It was the second to the last day of MCT, and as a 'reward' for graduating, we got three whole days leave before we reported to SOI (restricted to immediate area), except for time to pack our trash. I spent the entire first day of leave in Mainside Camp LeJeune at the Navy hospital. After the Doc looked my legs over for shin splints, a nurse just gave me a bottle of Motrin and told me to rest in the straggler's area watching TV. They know you're messed up if you're a sick-bay commando with a 72-hour pass.

I came back to Camp Geiger on the bus later that night, and everyone -- I mean everyone -- was asleep in their racks. Not one person requested an off-base pass. Our new troophandler just threw me my bedding, and told me to find a rack and not wake anyone. Some officer came by and told him 'All these Marines are on a three-day leave. No duty for them. Just leave them alone.'

48 posted on 09/30/2001 7:39:34 PM PDT by The KG9 Kid
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To: COB1
I think you need an alternate channel for your aggressive tendencies. Maybe it's sexual frustration. Try a girlfriend.
49 posted on 09/30/2001 7:40:22 PM PDT by Illbay
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To: TheGoodDoc
Amen.
50 posted on 09/30/2001 7:41:20 PM PDT by Illbay
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