Category Archives: Marine Corps

They will beat their swords into plowshares


Twenty years ago today I got off a bus in San Diego. A U.S. Marine drill instructor yelled at me and about 70 other young men to get off HIS bus and get on HIS yellow footprints. It was my first day of bootcamp and I became another addition to the number of troops that allows the U.S. state department to flex its muscle and our interests against other countries around the globe.

My motivation for joining the Marine Corps was not because of some romanticized notion of serving our country or some willingness to sacrifice myself for the cause of freedom and democracy. There are very few who do.

I can tell you from first hand knowledge of having worked at a recruiting station headquarters there are very few who join for those reasons. In fact, more often than not the kids who join have either exhausted their options, are hoping to learn a skill/trade, get money for college or all of the above.

Rare, if ever, is there a kid of a congressman or senator being trained to be a ground pounder, trigger puller assigned to an infantry platoon. I still contend that if the Bush twins or President Obama’s daughters were in an infantry platoon our country would not be at war.

One Sunday when I was in bootcamp and was training in the field for a few weeks we had a Naval Chaplain come and deliver a sermon to those of us who attended chapel. He had been Marine reconnaissance before being called to the priesthood. He wasn’t your typical meek and mild priest. He was tall, big and muscled with character lines in his face of someone who had spent time in rugged space. Yet his voice was calm and measured and humble. I remember something he said that has stuck with me all these years. If I remember correctly it was the benediction and it went something like “may we see the day when our jobs as military members are no longer needed and the world is at peace.”

After my first duty station I was sent to Marine Corps Recruiting Station Houston HQ. One afternoon I was with a gunnery sergeant in his office and he was lamenting his numbers and how he felt he and his crew were going to come up short on the number of bodies to join the Corps. He said something similar to what the chaplain said. He said something like, “you know you’d have to be crazy to want to join an organization whose sole purpose is to go to war… where you will be sent to a far off land and people will shoot at you. You’d have to be crazy. I pray every night that someday soon I’m out of a job.”

I’m proud of my time in the Marine Corps. I loved being a U.S. Marine and came to believe that being one more member in our military was a positive for our country. I think the concept that “sometimes to maintain peace, you must prepare for war.” is accurate. But I’ve come to believe it doesn’t have to be that way. Certainly it can change.

[sigh]

I probably should have done this a long time ago. But because of the responsibilities I have I can’t be on the front lines of protests and activism but at the very least, certainly I can provide funding for an organization that will.

So on the 20th anniversary of my first day of bootcamp… the day I started to  learn how to be, for all intents and purposes a killer, I have joined an organization whose purpose is peace.

I have joined Veterans for Peace.

Isaiah 2:4
He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.

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Merry Christmas to my fellow Marines!


good night Chesty Puller, wherever you are.

Semper Fi Marines


Today is the birthday of my beloved Corps. Born in 1775 at a tavern in Philadelphia.

Watching the video brings back so many memories of being in the Marine Corps. Much of what was said in the first three minutes is true of the U.S. Marines. “Marines are different.” “We have an obligation to be the most ready when the country is least ready.” “a special camaraderie to each other.” “honor courage commitment. ” “The mission is everything.”

I am proud to say I am U.S. Marine. I’m proud of my service as a journalist in the U.S. Marines. But I am ashamed at how our state department has used this force that is supposed to be for our country’s defense.

It was said by our previous president that we needed to be in Iraq and Afghanistan for our defense. If there is anything that would have made getting into this war more palatable it would have been to see Pres. Bush personally drive the twins and Dick Cheney take his daughters to see a Marine recruiter. I’d like to see what their reaction would be to this war if they saw their daughters in a helo plummeting to the ground like in this video.

I pray for you brother Marines… stay safe while in harm’s way and may you come home soon all in one piece.

brother can you spare a dime?


Hello friendly blog peeps, peepettes and casual visitors.

Today’s post is asking for a HUGE favor.

If you look to the right… right next to the title of this post you’ll see a picture. If you click it, the link will take you to my page on the Lone Star Chapter of The National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s website.

I’m writing about this because I want to let you know I’m riding my bicycle half way across Texas in an effort to raise funds for researchers to find a cure for MS. I’m riding in the 2009 MS 150 Bike Tour from Houston to Austin. It’s about 160 miles or so over two days.

I’m do it for two reasons. One… believe it or not, I find it fun and of course, challenging. (i’ve ridden this ride before) Two… I know I am extremely lucky to be able to move my body on my own and so I feel an obligation to help.

I want to help researchers find a cure for folks who don’t move so well because of this disease.

I’m no scientist. I don’t know much about this disease or what it will take to end it. But I can pedal my bike and ask people to donate to my ride so the smart guys can figure a way to help those who are afflicted with this disease.

So I hope you will.

I hope you can spare ten bucks… or five bucks… or three or even one.

I know five bucks or even one doesn’t seem like a lot but it all adds up.

When I was in the Marine Corps I learned a saying from the grunts… “ounces make pounds.” I first heard it when my unit attached with some grunts for training and we were going on a 13 mile hike carrying all our gear on our back.

A few of the guys took us “non-hackers” aside and said, “ounces make pounds, Marine. Let me see your gear.” They proceeded to show us how stripping every tiny piece of non-essential crap added up to a lot of weight.

“Ounces make pounds” folks. I know times are tough. Hell, I barely have two nickels to rub together but if you could donate whatever you can…

well, every little bit adds up to a lot.

Memorial Day remembrance


It seems as though many of us are touched by Memorial Day more than in past years.

I pray my Marine Corps brothers and sisters stay safe… especially those I put in the Corps.

Goodnight Chesty Puller!… where ever you are.