As we approach the birthday of our Corps, I find myself thinking more and more about those who have come before us.
Recently, I’ve become friends with more and more Vietnam-era Reconnaissance Marines, thanks to some good friends of mine.
Their stories of intense camaraderie are truly awe-inspiring. They saw some pretty intense combat in the jungles of Vietnam, while with A Co., 3rd Recon. They won battles together. They had the best of times together; they had the worst of times together. They lost friends together.
But through it all, and even after the war, they were together. With modern social media, they probably communicate as much now as they did living in fighting positions and sneaking around the enemy’s flanks in the jungles of Vietnam.
To me, it’s a reminder of what the Corps is all about: kicking butt, taking names, making brothers for life.
One thing is for sure about these men, decades after their active service ended, they are still Marines, through and through.
Their Facebook posts are regularly stories and memories of their time together in-country, how they helped one another through various trials and tribulations, being sent to an Army hospital in the rear with Malaria, insisting they be sent back to the front their fellow Marines from 3rd Recon, and how they would do small, special things for the other guys in the unit. Simple pleasures like steaks and beer work wonders on morale in the jungle.
Reading their stories is a testament to our Corps. Marines are doing the same kind of things to this day. Today, our battles are fought in the deserts and mountains of the Middle East, not the deep, dark jungles of Southeast Asia. We are fighting an enemy, helping those in need, and representing our nation all across the globe. The Marines of today might be different, but we are the same. Marines are still Marines, and I am proud to call each and every one of them ‘brother’ and ‘sister.’
“The man who will go where his colors will go, without asking, who will fight a phantom foe in a jungle and mountain range, without counting, and who will suffer and die in the midst of incredible hardship, without complaint, is still what he has always been, from Imperial Rome to sceptered Britain to Democratic America. He is the stuff of which legions are made. His pride is his colors and his regiment, his training hard and thorough and coldly realistic, to fit him for what he must face, and his obedience is to his orders. As a legionary, he held the gates of civilization for the classical world…he has been called United States Marine.” Lieutenant Colonel T.R. Fehrenbach, U.S. Army in “This Kind of War.”