I was in the car earlier today shouting back at a local newsreader delivering yet more bad news from my radio, when a military recruiting spot interrupted my deranged soliloquy. The ad was rather uninspiring—learn life skills, be a part of a team, blah, blah, blah—so naturally I assumed it was just another ho-hum plea for warm bodies by Army, Inc. But I about blew a jarhead gasket when I heard the pitchman wrap with “We’re the Marines and we’re looking for a few more to join us.”
A few more to join us? Sounds like an invitation to a party. Which is actually timely given today’s breaking news that the Corps will allow “Marines” to sashay in their Dress Blues in San Diego’s deviant gay pride parade this weekend.
Today there are many—too many—brave Marine warriors in harm’s way. I have no doubt that the young men we’ve sent to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan are as brave and tough as their forefathers at Khe Sanh, the Frozen Chosin, Inchon, Iwo Jima, Tarawa, Belleau Wood, the halls of Montezuma and the shores of Tripoli. But they are so because they answered the recruiting call of an uncompromising Corps committed to making better men of them—a Corps that epitomizes manliness and the warrior ethos. There is a very distinct reason why the Corps has always attracted the best raw recruits and turned them into the best warriors. And it isn’t because of a commitment to fad, social experimentation or political correctness. The Corps has historically promised nothing more than grueling training and the opportunity to be the “first to fight” in the bloodiest wars—which, in turn, produce an esprit de corps without equal among fighting men.
It has long been claimed—mostly by Marines—that Army Gen. John J. “Black Jack” Pershing, who led the American Expeditionary Forces in World War I—famously inquired, “Why in hell can’t the Army do it if the Marines can? They are the same kind of men. Why can’t they be like Marines?” The answer is that the Marines have never looked “for a few more to join us.” They’ve always just needed “a few good men.”