"Many Marines I talk to are skeptical of the aims used to justify the war - fighting terrorism, getting weapons of mass destruction (which they never see). Quite a few accept that this war was probably fought for oil." 'The Killer Elite', Evan Wright's coverage of a US Marine Corps Battalion in the 2003 Iraq War (later developed into the book and TV series Generation Kill). [more inside]
Officers in the United States Marine Corps face a long and rigorous selection and training process. First, Officer Candidate School, where they receive their commissions. Then The Basic School, where they are taught the credo: 'Every Marine A Rifleman.' Then, for those who choose and are selected for the infantry, the Infantry Officer's Course. With the 'front lines' of modern combat blurred at best, the United States Marine Corps will begin accepting women for the infantry in September, enrolling them in the Infantry Officer's Course. [more inside]
After spending $5 billion dollars to develop the Universal Camouflage Pattern (UCP), the US Army is abandoning the grey-green pixelated camouflage because it has routinely failed to hide soldiers from view in nearly every environment it has been tried in, and considers adopting the UCP "a colossal mistake" and a "fiasco". [more inside]
"Every day in the U.S., about 500 people lose a limb. About 1,800 amputation surgeries are performed each year in Oklahoma. More than 1,600 of those — about 90 percent — are lower body amputations. So every day in Oklahoma, four people lose part or all of a leg." (Nationally, the most common procedure is toe amputation.) "These are the stories of four people living in Oklahoma — a mother, a senior, a Marine and a student — all living life on at least one prosthetic leg": Standing Tall [more inside]
Final Salute. Between 2004 and 2005, "Rocky Mountain News reporter Jim Sheeler and photographer Todd Heisler spent a year with the Marines stationed at Aurora's Buckley Air Force Base who have found themselves called upon to notify families of the deaths of their sons in Iraq. In each case in this story, the families agreed to let Sheeler and Heisler chronicle their loss and grief. They wanted people to know their sons, the men and women who brought them home, and the bond of traditions more than 200 years old that unite them. Though readers are led through the story by the white-gloved hand of Maj. Steve Beck, he remains a reluctant hero. He is, he insists, only a small part of the massive mosaic that is the Marine Corps." The full story ran on Veteran's Day, 2005 and won two Pulitzer Prizes: one for Feature Photography, another for feature writing in 2006. A nice single-page version of one section: Katherine Cathey and 2nd Lt. James J. Cathey (via.) The Rocky Mountain News closed in 2009. [more inside]
100 Firefights, Three Weeks: Inside Afghanistan's Most Insane Fight
"In its first three weeks in Afghanistan’s Sangin district, the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines got into more than 100 firefights and sustained 62 casualties. The insurgents managed to negate the Marines’ night-vision gear, and rendered their traditional close-combat tactics useless. Things got so bad, the 3/5’s superior officers even suggested pulling their troops back. That didn’t happen. Instead, the 3/5 went after the militants, hard. When the 3/5 came home, they told counterinsurgency historian Mark Moyar all about their deeply unconventional approach to what was already an unconventional war."This is an excerpt in Wired of Moyar’s 74-page after action report. (pdf) [more inside]
USMC Warrant Officer (ret.) Michael D. Fay served as a combat artist from 2000 through January 2010 under the History Division of the Marine Corps University. He once described his orders from them as "Go to War. Do Art." Fay was deployed several times to Iraq and Afghanistan, and has been keeping a blog of his sketches since 2005. [more inside]
Joe Rosenthal, 1911-2006. He once took a photo that may seem familiar to you. That image is so iconic that it lent itself to a later memorial and was echoed in the aftermath of another famous incident.
Marine's Final Salute to fallen comrades Very emotional piece by the Rocky Mountain News where they shadow'ed a Marine that is responsible for notifying next-of-kin. Seeing as today is Veteran's Day, how 'bout we salute our men and women in uniform ... and leave the political discussions for other forums.
It's the 230th birthday of the United States Marine Corps. Every 10 NOV current, future, and former Marines gather to commemorate the founding of the USMC. GoDaddy's founder Bob Parsons is a former Marine, and makes it a habit to send out birthday wishes every year. (flash)
President Bush pledged in 2003 that "A free Iraq will not be a training ground for terrorists... A free Iraq will not destabilize the Middle East." This past January, the CIA's National Intelligence Council observed that Iraq had become "a training ground, a recruitment ground" for jihadists. Now the senior Marine commander in Iraq, Lt. Gen. James Conway -- in a statement that has not yet been picked up by the media -- acknowledges that the war is furnishing a new "a training ground" for foreign fighters trained in urban warfare who will export terror all over the world, saying, "But there's not much we can do about it at this point in time."
Want to serve your country, but you're not exactly up for being a marine? If you know an instrument well, then not to worry...join "The President's Own", the official USMC band! Unlike other USMC bands that are put together from Marine Corps regulars, musicians in the President's Own are enlisted specifically for playing in the band (MOS 9811). You have all the rank, privileges, pay, and snappy uniforms as a Staff Sergeant upon entry, and you can even work yourself up to colonel! You get all the benefits, like seeing the world and free haircuts, provided you meet height and weight requirements, and can meet certain physical criteria (try marching for 10 hours a day)....and NO BOOT CAMP...that's right...they're the only unit in the Armed Forces that doesn't require any military training before joining. And of course, one the coolest things about the Marine Corps band, is that you follow in the footsteps of John Philip Sousa, who enlisted when he was friggin 13.
Nude, Gay Marines? Isn't that what the web is all about? The right to be different? United States Marine Corps officials are investigating reports its troops are posing nude for gay pornography being sold on the Internet....