Monday, December 26, 2011

Celebrating Christmas

"You can give your heart to Jesus but your ass belongs to the Corps."

Marines can dig up the Christmas spirit just about anywhere in the world it seems.

Sgt. Maj. Wayne Rumore, 3rd Battalion, 23rd Marine Regiment sergeant major, and Staff Sgt. Kyle Provencher, jump platoon commander, 3rd Bn., 23rd Marines, gather around a Christmas tree, Dec. 25, 2008, at Expeditionary Patrol Base Tanner. Marines living in austere conditions still found a way to celebrate the holiday with minimal assets. Marine Corps News

At home, these Marines work pretty hard at Christmas too. In case you haven't seen it on TV yet ...

It looks like my Marine and his family have a nice bright town to hang in for the season ... seems a lot of people have gotten into the spirit.

President Barak Obama visited the Marines in Hawaii on Christmas day wishing them both Merry Christmas and "Mele Kalikimakas" (Merry Christmas in Hawaiian.). The family attended the Kaneohe Marine Base chapel service, chatted with Marines and Obama played with babies, including one who stuck his hand in the president's mouth. The photo is from last year, but they did this again this year.

Semper Fi and Good Night
Written by Jessica, Wife of a 1/7 Marine

Twas the nite before Christmas,
they lived far from home,
in dark,sandy quarters,
but not all alone

After clearing the checkpoints,
and with presents to give,
I wanted to see the Marines
Who in these quarters did live.

As I looked all about,
an awesome sight I did see,
some of the few and the proud,
U.S. Marines

Some young, some old,
with boots full of sand,
Marine Corps brothers
with rifles in hand.

Seeing bravery, courage,
and toughness of mind,
a sobering thought came thru my mind

For these quarters were different,
housing hardcharging Marines;
Who make it through
with various routines

The only easy day was the one they just got thru;
Uncommon valor, still a common virtue

Yet their spirits were high,
Minds and bodies were strong;
Despite the months
that were trying and long

These were the heroes
of whom I had read;
Whose main purpose was
to make the enemy dead

I knew the Americans
who i saw on this night
owed their lives to these men,
the first ones to fight.

Soon 'cross the country,
Americans would rise;
ready to celebrate
with joy in their eyes

Each one enjoyed freedom,
each day of the year;
because of Marines...
like the ones I saw here

I had to wonder
how many deeds went uknown,
of the men spending Christmas
in a land far from home

Thinking of this,
brought tears to my eyes;
my knees hit the deck,
and i started to cry

Some Marines turned to me,
saying "santa don't cry,"
"We're here for a purpose,
we'll get these bad guys"

We fight for freedom,
each other, the Corps;
and for this reason,
we'll win this war

Before turning away,
they said "This is our job."
I couldn't control it,
I continued to sob

I continued to watch
and silently weep;
seeing the esprits de corps
that ran so deep

I wanted to stay
on that cold desert night,
with these warriors for freedom,
so willing to fight

But a Marine came to me,
eyes steady and voice sure,
"It's Twenty-five December,
So carry on Santa, All is secure."

In that instance I knew,
the cause was just and right,
"Merry Christmas Marines;
Semper Fi and good night"
Posted by Sgt Grit Staff

Devil Dog Card

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Leaving Iraq

For better or worse its over.
On January 21, 2010, the U.S. Marine Corps wrapped nearly seven years in Iraq on Saturday, handing over duties to the Army and signaling the beginning of an accelerated withdrawal of American troops as the U.S. turns its focus away from the waning Iraqi war to a growing one in Afghanistan. Marines leave

Marines end role in Iraq

Now the withdrawl is done, the flag is down and who knows what will come.
The U.S. military officially ended its war in Iraq on Thursday, rolling up its flag at a low-key ceremony with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta nearly nine bloody years after the invasion that ousted dictator Saddam Hussein. U.S. withdraws
Members of the U.S. military retire its ceremonial flags signifying the end of their presence in Iraq at the Baghdad Diplomatic Support Center in Baghdad December 15, 2011. The U.S military officially ended its war in Iraq on Thursday, packing up a military flag at a ceremony with U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta nearly nine years after the invasion that ousted Saddam Hussein. This ceremony is called the "casing of the colors" and signifies the departing and inactivation of the U.S. military's presence in Iraq. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

The U.S. war in Iraq — a conflict that killed more than 4,500 American troops, cost $800 billion and divided the nation — officially ended with a ceremony held under tight security.

"To be sure, the cost was high — in blood and treasure for the United States and also for the Iraqi people," Defense Secretary Leon Panetta called. "But those lives have not been lost in vain."
The fighting resulted, Panetta said, in a "free and sovereign Iraq." U.S.A Today

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Pearl Harbor Day

I am a day late I know. But this is one of those days that can't be left behind easily. Another day that is remembered and soon is not remembered. It's like Sept. 11, or landing on the moon, or ... But now it has been 70 years and those people who can say exactly where they were that day are rare now. In fact, the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association is disbanding, only 120 people attended the commemoration ceremony of the organization this year.

"The 70th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor Wednesday drew fewer people to Honolulu than for the 60th or 50th anniversaries.
The main reason — there are far fewer survivors of the attack who are still alive today, and they are now in their late 80s and 90s." Pacific News

Infamous Day
The United States Marine Corps, of course, was right there too.
The Marine Barracks at Pearl Harbor comprised a Barracks Detachment and two companies, A and B, the men living in a comfortable three-story concrete barracks. Company A manned the main gates at the Submarine Base and Navy yard, and other "distant outposts," providing yard security, while Company B enforced traffic regulations and maintained proper police and order under the auspices of the Yard Police Officer. In addition, Marines ran the Navy Yard Fire Department. Elements of Marine defense battalions made Pearl Harbor their home, too, residing in the several 100-man temporary wooden barracks buildings that had been completed during 1940 and 1941. Less commodious but no less important was the burgeoning airbase that Marines of Marine Aircraft Group (MAG) 2 (later 21) had hewn and hammered out near Barbers Point -- Ewa Mooring Mast Field, home for a Marine aircraft group consisting of fighting, scout-bombing, and utility squadrons. Infamous Day

A 5-inch/25-caliber open pedestal mount antiaircraft gun -- manned here by sailors on board the heavy cruiser Astoria  (CA-34) in early 1942 -- was the standard battleship and heavy cruiser antiaircraft weapon at Pearl Harbor. The mount itself weighed more than 20m000 pounds, while the gun fired a 53.8-pound projectile to a maximum range (at 45 degrees elevation) of 14,500 yards. It was a weapon such as this that Sergeants Hailey and Wears, and Private First Class Curran, after the sinking of their ship, Oklahoma  (BB-37), helped man on board Maryland  (BB-46) on 7 December 1941.

At Ewa every Marine plane was knocked out of action in the first attack. Two squadrons of Japanese fighters swept in from the northwest at 1,000 feet and dived down to rake the aircraft parked near the runways with machine-gun and cannon fire. Pilots and air crewmen ran to their planes in an attempt to get them into the air or drag them out of the line of fire, but the Japanese returned again and again to complete the job of destruction. When the enemy fighters drew off at about 0825 they left behind a field littered with burning and shot-up aircraft. The men of [Marine Aircraft Group] MAG-21 recovered quickly from their initial surprise and shock and fought back with what few rifles and machine guns they had. Salvageable guns were stripped from damaged planes and set up on hastily improvised mounts; one scout-bomber rear machine gun was manned to swell the volume of antiaircraft fire. Although the group commander, Lieutenant Colonel Claude A. Larkin, had been wounded almost as soon as he arrived at the field that morning, he continued to coordinate the efforts to meet further enemy attacks.  Navy History

 Another day in the life a warlike species, another day to "never forget."

Pearl Harbor Attack, 7 December 1941View of the Parade Ground at the Pearl Harbor Marine Barracks, between 0930 and 1130 hrs. on 7 December 1941, with smoke in the background rising from burning ships.
Note armed Marines at left, awaiting the possible return of Japanese aircraft.
Navy photos