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A Few Good Men

Reprinted from PN/Paraplegia News November 2013

There are two battles in the history of the USMC that demonstrate why the members of the Marines have such pride in their branch of service.

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This is the month that we Americans set aside for Thanksgiving. America’s Thanksgiving is a unique holiday. Each year, I try to pick a military event and write about it and its connection with Thanksgiving. 

It’s rare we don’t find ourselves with our young men and women defending the interests of our country in some faraway place. This has been the case since America became a republic approximately 200 years ago.

The holiday, which historically joins the United States together more than any other, is Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving, because it’s a historical recognition of how those who settled our country gave thanks for their survival.  A survival that led to the establishment of the greatest nation on earth. 

Despite the 200 years the U.S. has existed, and the changes in uniforms, battle technology, location of wars, etc., there are things that are constants. Things such as patriotism, dedication to mission, love of country and love and willingness to sacrifice for a comrade.

In PN, we don’t discriminate between branch of service, rank or other similar things when we write articles, provide information or work to assist each other.   

There are times, though, that stories are so distinctive that they demand attention.  In this editorial, that distinction falls to the United States Marine Corps (USMC). There are two battles in the history of the USMC that demonstrate why the members of the Marines have such pride in their branch of service.   

The above constants can be documented by what occurred at the Battle of Hue, which started Jan. 30, 1968, during the Tet Offensive in South Vietnam, and the second battle of Fallalujah, which began on Nov. 8, 2004, in Iraq.

On Jan. 31, 1968, a division size force of North Vietnamese regulars and supporters from irregular forces attacked the ancient Vietnamese capital city of Hue. The city was held by a small unit of American Marines and a small force of South Vietnamese soldiers. These allied forces were significantly outmanned by enemy forces. Despite this fact, the Marines fought until Feb. 29, 1968, at which time they pushed the last of the enemy from the city.  

A few decades later, a similar battle was fought, again primarily by the USMC. However, this time, it was the second battle of Fallalujah, which began in November 2004 in Fallalujah, Iraq, and lasted until Dec. 24, 2004. 

There were constants in both battles that I continue to mention. In both battles, the men and women were fighting in a heavy-urban (houses-to-house) war environment, which they weren’t really trained for.

Despite being overwhelmed by the opposition, their patriotic spirit pushed them forward. As has always been the case, they never left anyone behind, whether wounded or killed; their dedication to mission led them forward even when outnumbered; and their willingness to sacrifice for a comrade at the risk of injury or death was the same despite the 36-year difference in time.

In both battles, which were short and vicious, an extraordinary number of medals were awarded for bravery. These two battles are believed by the Marine Corps to be the bloodiest and most vicious ever fought by the USMC. 

Why would I write about two battles to celebrate Thanksgiving? As I mentioned earlier, the constants that exist in our military services are what keep us free. Freedom, liberty, security, etc., are things that all people desire and that Americans, and in the case of Hue and Fallujah, the Marines make us a nation that others desire to come to and not to run from. 

In the December editorial, I intend to write how the Constitution and Christmas relate to each other. I look forward to writing and getting it out to you.

Finally, God bless our Marines. Semper Fi!

 

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A Few Good Men

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