The United States Marine Corps was created on November 10th, 1775 to guard vessels during the American Revolutionary War. Since then, the Marine Corps responsibilities have expanded as in integral component of American military forces working with the Navy to rapidly deploy combined armed task forces. While the U.S. Marine Corps is the smallest of the nation’s combat forces, it is the largest Marine Corps in the world and is often the first forces sent out.
The Marine Corps has served in every American armed conflict. During World War II, when amphibious warfare was at the forefront of combat operations, the Marines as its ability to rapidly respond to expeditionary crises was quintessential to victory in the Pacific. That is why the unofficial Marine Corps memorial Between-the-Beltways near Arlington National Cemetery depicts marines raising the flag at Iwo Jima.
|Sunset Ceremony at Iwo Jima Memorial, Arlington, Virginia|
More recently, the Marines were deployed in essentially landlocked nations such as Iraq and Afghanistan. Marines spearheaded the 2003 invasion of Iraq and served bravely in the battles in Fallujah.
Marines attach great tradition to celebrating their founding. A ceremonial cake is presented where the oldest Marine cuts the culinary creation with his sword and then feeds the youngest Marine present. Often this is done in dress uniforms and high ceremony. But this video from the 2011 ceremony at Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan poignantly captures that same spirit in the fields of combat.
As Congress explored the effects of the automatic cross the board 9.4% cuts due to the impending Sequestration, the Marine Corps Assistant Commandant General Joseph F. Dunlop Jr testified that Sequestration would have “a chaotic effect on the force during a time of extraordinary challenges to our nation..” Dunlap expressed pride that the nation’s Marines, Sailors, Soldiers and Airman have done everything asked of them over the last ten years. However, Dunlap is worried that the willy nilly cuts from sequestration would “loose the trust and confidence of the all-volunteer force that we have worked so hard to build.”
Marine Commandant General James Amos is concerned how the across the board budget cuts from Sequestration will hit the Marine Corps. The plan is to reduce the size of the Corps from 202,000 to 182,000. Since Amos suspects that further force reduction will not be permitted, the cuts will come out of procurement, which may sacrifice the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and would cripple the Marine Corps ability to respond to multiple crises at once.
Despite these impending dangers from the District of Calamity (sic), let us say “Oorah” to the U.S. M.C. for serving our nation well. Semper Fi!
[This piece originally ran at DCBarroco.US in 2012 but still rings true today--Semper Fi!]