Theodore's World: America, the Rock; and U.S. Marines by Colonel Bob Pappas, USMC, Retired

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November 11, 2010

America, the Rock; and U.S. Marines by Colonel Bob Pappas, USMC, Retired


America, the Rock; and U.S. Marines

by Colonel Bob Pappas, USMC, Retired

Currently there is a Department of Defense (DoD) review underway whose general purpose is to analyze and make recommendations regarding the role and missions of the U.S. Marine Corps. One supposes that such a review is conducted for each of the services and that is a good thing. As one, privileged to bear the name, Marine, a natural defensiveness wells up whenever the suggestion of a challenge to its merit arises. So, if this comes across as defensive, so be it.

Like so many Marines who have gone before I had a share of combat, hardships, separation and heartache; and yes, Marines heart. The Marines Hymn spells out the glories of the Corps better than anything one could write, Toys for Tots exemplifies the tenderness, and recruiting material captures the allure, but nothing comes close to the experience.

As a Major assigned to work at the Pentagon, a “giant” expressed being a Marine better than anything I had heard it up until that time. Then Colonel (later Major General) Dennis Murphy characterized it as “owning a piece of the rock.” Owning a piece of the rock (America) is many things, events, places and people. Owning a piece of it is religious experience of sorts animated by young Marines who do the grinding hard work that keeps America free. Marines learn commitment and doing it right the first time better than anyone else on earth. Marines lead in military matters, science, industry, education, and even in government where they stand as a bulwark against shifting values in an increasingly valueless society.

Marines may not agree on everything, but they have the courage of their convictions, express them without hesitation or apology and stand ready to defend them against all enemies, foreign and domestic. They have variously been referred to as Devil Dogs, American Spartans, Leathernecks, Soldiers of the Sea, and characterized by a wide variety slogans and slang expressions most of which are “colorful;” and understated.

There is no occupation on earth that offers the challenges, dangers, opportunities, hardships and satisfaction comparable to the Corps. There, one can accomplish and achieve ones highest aspirations but lest one think that it’s a cake walk, there are unimaginable challenges that only personal experience can explain and the most eloquent words fail to describe.

The U.S. Defense Budget for 2010 ranges somewhere between $880 Billion and $1 Trillion dollars. A significant amount of that is devoted to “Overseas Contingency Operations.” The Marine Corps portion is approximately $30 Billion dollars or about three percent of the DoD Budget. Marines derive the benefit of Army, Air Force and Navy Development programs, and the Corps even has its own Combat Development Center; but those are sunk costs and even the pro-rata portion of the other services’ would be small. Dollar for dollar and person for person the Corps is the best value in the U.S. Military Arsenal; for that matter it is the best value the Federal Government has to offer, bar none!

The U.S. Marine Corps has the only credible forcible entry capability in the world, and everybody knows it. So, when some tin horned dictator gets too big for his britches or a threat arises to vital U.S. interests, a fleet of Navy ships moving in that direction with a U.S. Marine Battalion Landing Team aboard gives pause to most. So, if some brilliant analyst and/or politician gets the unsavory notion that there is money to be saved by eliminating or drastically cutting the Marine Corps, think again. If there wasn’t a U.S. Marine Corps, one would have to be invented; and as long as there is a U.S. Marine Corps there will be a United States of America!

Happy 235th Birthday Marines; and Semper Fidelis, America!

Semper Fidelis


Wild Thing's comment.........

Thank you Colonel Bob Pappas and Happy Birthday Marine!

Excellent write up!

God bless our Marines and all our branches of services on this special Veterans Day.

....Thank you Mark for sending this to me.

3rd Mar.Div. 1st Battalion 9th Marine Regiment
1/9 Marines aka The Walking Dead
VN 66-67

Posted by Wild Thing at November 11, 2010 06:47 AM


Oh well just my opinion, but I can't argue with the man's logic. As usual he right on Target.

Posted by: Mark at November 11, 2010 07:17 PM

Mark, I agree, he is always so good. I also like the way he writes as he goes step by step in things. He did it with this article too, like following his train of thought and his passion runs deep which I also love.

Posted by: Wild Thing at November 12, 2010 03:49 AM