Thursday, November 10, 2011

Happy 236th Birthday Marine Corps

Once again, we pause to celebrate a very happy day indeed, the anniversary of the birth of the United States Marine Corps.  The USMC was originally formed as two battalions of Continental Marines on this date back in 1775 (before there was even a nation to serve).   The Marine Corps has proudly been the "First to Fight"; continuously serving this nation with fidelity, with honor, and with distinction for the 236 years since.

Being the son of a Marine it is therefore with humility, but also a great deal of pride that I wish a happy birthday to the Corps that my father loved and served with during WWII.  Rather than bore you with information that I have previously detailed in this blog however, I will refer those wishing to look back at that additional information to some previous postings that I have done on the subject of the Marine Corps.

They include one with a number of photos from the Marine Corp Museum in Quantico, VA that I was able to visit while being privileged to attend a reunion of WWII Marine veterans that my father served with, and which was held at the base in Quantico.

Another stop during that memorable trip was a visit to the original Marine Barracks (first used in 1801, and one of the few structures in Washington not damaged during the British occupation of Washington in the War of 1812). On this occasion, I was doubly lucky, as I was fortunate enough to be there to listen to the President's own Marine Corps Drum and Bugle Corps.  There I was not only able to watch a truly intelligent, gifted, and talented group of soldier musicians as as they performed. While not surprised that those in the band were all volunteers, I was amazed to discover that almost all of these soldiers have advanced college degrees; and that they compete constantly and fiercely for the honor of serving. 

As if the opportunity of listening to the Drum and Bugle Corp was not enough, I was also privileged to see the Silent Drill Platoon perform the silent cadence of The Evening Parade.  Not surprisingly, many of those that we talked to in the Platoon had recently returned from front line service overseas.  While honored to be back in the States and once more working with the Silent Parade, most were anxiously looking forward to future deployment to where the action was. Without fail however, every one of the Marines we talked to that evening was happy to share the history of the barracks, the ceremony, and the Marine Corps with each and every one of us; and to impart some part of the dedication that they felt to those of us who had never served.  They were likewise especially attentive to those I was traveling with, who had served in WWII, treating them as honored brothers and distinguished guests . And as the bugler played 'Taps' at the end of the performance, anyone not moved by the especially emotional nature of that ceremony in that place by those individuals could have had no heart.

Of course no history of the Corps would be complete in my mind without a recounting of the very special, and to me very personal story of "Lost Battalion", Company A of the 10th Amphibious Tractor Battalion (in which my father served during WWII). The story of their rather remarkable days in the Pacific is well worth remembering as part of the history of service of the Marines.

So to all those jar heads (for the high and tight haircut), devil dogs (for the Marine Corp bulldog mascot) and leathernecks (for the leather collar that was part of their Revolutionary War uniform) out there; let me send out a proper birthday greeting:

Semper Fi Mac!

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