Nov 10, 2005

We don't use a crutch 

Happy Birthday Marines, and greetings to you all from Iraq! Though my absence from the site has been prolonged, I assure you, it has not been without reason. We’ve set up shop and gotten to work about the business of combat. Now, I’m not going to sit here and tell you about the toils of war and the horror of it all. In my particular case, “the business of combat” looks a hell of a lot like paperwork.

I’m currently at what may very well be the single most secure base in the country, and have only heard one shot fired in anger: a rocket about two weeks ago that sounded like someone dropped something heavy on the concrete outside. This ain’t exactly what I thought a war would look like, but then I don’t know what I expected. I have a job that doesn’t require me to go outside the wire and the biggest gripe you can really have on base here is that they only have three flavors of Baskin-Robbins available at a time in the chow hall… I am not making this up. The place is nicknamed “Camp Cupcake.” In fact, it is often joked (only half-joked, really) that most of us would gladly let someone drop indirect fire on our pos once a week for conditions like this at CAX.

It’s not all that different from working in southern California actually, except that coming out of Subway (yeah, we’ve got one of those here too) you see Humvees with bullet holes in them. When you hear about the IED that hit that convoy, it happened three kilometers away, not 30,000. When you read about the missile that was shot at that aircraft, you know the guys it was shot at and probably were face to face with them an hour ago.

Right now, Marines and soldiers are doing their jobs in places like Husaybah, Ramadi, and Baghdad. They’re finding cars full of explosives, houses full of explosives, even trash full of explosives, all designed to kill Americans or anyone who works with Americans. The good news in all this is that these Marines and soldiers are very good at their jobs. You can call it paranoia if you want to… but that doesn’t mean the bastards aren’t out to get ya. IEDs – the weapon of choice – are everywhere. But due to the vigilance, experience, and professionalism of the kids (yeah, KIDS) that are out on the convoys and patrolling the towns, injuries are kept to a minimum. Things are not doom and gloom out there on the streets, whatever the news says about casualty counts be damned.

And so, today, 230 years after it was formed, the Marine Corps continues to fight the enemies of freedom. Marines remain ready to lay their lives down for the cause of liberty. Marines continue to do the job they were trained for. And Marines retain the pride of knowing that no other organization of people in the world – friend or enemy – will ever surpass the fighting spirit, the esprit de corps, or the pure tenacity of the United States Marine Corps.

You may say I’m biased. You may say I’m jingoistic. You may say I’ve swallowed the kool-aid.
You may say whatever you want.

Doesn’t mean I’m wrong.

230 years young. Semper Fidelis, Marines.

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