November 27, 2001 - Worldnet Daily: The Corps never lost sight of its primary mission

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By Admin1 (admin) (pool-151-196-19-87.balt.east.verizon.net - 151.196.19.87) on Sunday, January 11, 2004 - 4:56 am: Edit Post

The Corps never lost sight of its primary mission





Read and comment on this essay from Worldnet Daily by David H. Hackworth about another organization where courage and sacrifice are expected. The Corps never lost sight of its primary mission. "We don't promise a rose garden." When, under Clinton, the Army lowered its standards to Boy Scout summer-camp level in order to increase enlistment, the Corps responded by making boot training longer and tougher. Read the story and leave your comments at:

The Marines have landed again*

* This link was active on the date it was posted. PCOL is not responsible for broken links which may have changed.



The Marines have landed again

© 2001 David H. Hackworth

The first non-Special Ops unit deployed to Afghanistan is the U.S. Marines Corps no big surprise to this old Army doggie.

In World War II's South Pacific, Marines were "the firstus with the mostus" into the Solomons, and they led the way into Vietnam. In Korea, they landed second, but unlike the Army units initially deployed there, Gen. Edward Craig's Marine brigade hit the beach ready to fight. And without their skill, sacrifice and courage, the beleaguered Eighth Army would've been pushed into the sea during the early months of the conflict. A similar scenario occurred during the early stages of Desert Storm, in which Marine units came in ready to fight while the first Army troops the 82nd Airborne Division, with its insufficient anti-tank capability were a potential speed bump waiting to be flattened.

The Corps, which has never lost sight that its primary mission is to fight, remains superbly trained and disciplined true to its time-honored slogan "We don't promise a rose garden." When, under Clinton, the Army lowered its standards to Boy Scout summer-camp level in order to increase enlistment, the Corps responded by making boot training longer and tougher. Now under USMC Commandant James Jones, that training has gotten even meaner for the young Marine wannabes waiting in line to join up, as well as for Leathernecks already serving in regular and reserve units.

Unlike U.S. Army conventional units their new slogan, "An Army of One," says it all the U.S. Marine Corps remains a highly mobile, fierce fighting team that has never forgotten: "The more sweat on the training field, the less blood on the battlefield."

The Marines are flexible, agile, ready and deadly, while the Army remains configured to fight the Soviets who disappeared off the Order of Battle charts a decade ago. For example, right after Sept. 11, the two Army heavy divisions in Germany with their 68-ton tanks that can crush almost every bridge they cross deployed to Poland for war games.

Hello, is there a brain at the top somewhere beneath that snazzy Black Beret being modeled at most U.S. airports by too many overweight Army National Guard troops?

The Army has eight other regular divisions, all designed to fight 20th-century wars. Three are heavy Tank and Mech Infantry and two are light, the storied 82nd Airborne and the elite 101st Airborne (now helicopter), and then there's the light/heavy 10,000-man 2nd Division that's in Korea backing up a million-man, superbly fit South Korean Army.

Less the light divisions, our Army's not versatile, deployable, swift or sustainable. The heavy units require fleets of ships and planes to move them, and it takes months to get them there it took Stormin' Norman six months to ready a force for Desert Storm. The 101st while deadly, as Desert Storm proved is also a slow mover requiring a huge amount of strategic lift ships and giant planes to get to the battlefield, not to mention the massive tax-dollar load to outfit and maintain it.

Sadly, today's Army is like a street fighter with brass knuckles too heavy to lift.

After the Rangers' disaster in Somalia where there were no tanks to break through to relieve them and the embarrassment of not being able to fight in the war in Serbia, Army Chief Of Staff Eric Shinseki started forming light brigades strikingly similar to USMC units. When I asked, "Why the copycatting?" an Army officer said: "It was either copy or go out of business. We'd become redundant because of long-term lack of boldness and imagination at the top."

The Army costs about $80 billion a year to run. It's time for Congress to do its duty and stop enjoying the benefits of all the pork this obsolescence and redundancy provides. If the Army can't change with the times as the powerful horse cavalry generals couldn't just prior to World War II then it should fold up its tents and turn the ground-fighting mission over to the Marines.

The law of nature is simple: survival of the fittest. And in the 21st century, heartbreaking as it is for me to admit, the forward-based and highly deployable U.S. Marine Corps is the fittest.


Col. David H. Hackworth, author of his new best-selling "Steel My Soldiers' Hearts," "Price of Honor" and "About Face," has seen duty or reported as a sailor, soldier and military correspondent in nearly a dozen wars and conflicts from the end of World War II to the recent fights against international terrorism.



June 6, 2003 - Marine Staff Sergeant says the Peace Corps is "truly hardcore"





Read and comment on this story from the Pentagram on June 6, 2003 about retired Staff Sgt. Gregory McCurtis who recently visited his daughter working in Nicaragua with the Peace Corps and admits he's been awakened to the rigors of volunteering. "The Peace Corps is no joke. It's truly hardcore," said McCurtis while on his way back to the United States. "Nothing I experienced in the Marines comes close."

His daughter, 22-year-old Keisha McCurtis lives in a remote part of Nicaragua called Boca de Sabalos, Rio San Juan, where she is an hour's travel through dense jungle to the nearest village with another Peace Corps volunteer. "It's very remote and isolated. There's nothing there but trees, trees and more trees," said McCurtis. "Rarely did the Marines ever put you out there with nothing. We had field sanitation and radios ... you felt the force of the U.S. government backing you up," he said. "Where my daughter is right now? whatever is there, is there. It's a very do-it-yourself environment." Read the story at:


Hard to the Corps:*

* This link was active on the date it was posted. PCOL is not responsible for broken links which may have changed.



Hard to the Corps:
Daughter teaches retired Marine about roughing it

by Spc. Chuck Wagner
Task Force-Bravo

When you think of roughing it in the bush as part of the Corps, the first thing that comes to mind is the Marine Corps -- not the Peace Corps.

A retired Marine recently visited his daughter working in Nicaragua with the Peace Corps and admits he's been awakened to the rigors of volunteering.

"The Peace Corps is no joke. It's truly hardcore," said retired Staff Sgt. Gregory McCurtis while on his way back to the United States. "Nothing I experienced in the Marines comes close."

His daughter, 22-year-old Keisha McCurtis lives in a remote part of Nicaragua called Boca de Sabalos, Rio San Juan, where she is an hour's travel through dense jungle to the nearest village with another Peace Corps volunteer.

"It's very remote and isolated. There's nothing there but trees, trees and more trees," said McCurtis, who traveled space available in mid-May to Soto Cano Air Base, Honduras, as he made a winding way to Nicaragua.

McCurtis' career in the Marines took him to many corners of the globe including Somalia, Kenya, Japan and Korea. This did not prepare him for the lifestyle his daughter accepted to help a village of about 1,500 residents.



Caption: Volunteers live in remote parts of Nicaragua where they are an hour's travel through dense jungle to the nearest village with another Peace Corps volunteer.

There are no roads, only dirt paths. No plumbing, only outhouses that amount to little more than a hole in the ground. Only a few of the wooden huts supported on stilts have access to spotty electrical service. The nearest phone is several hours by boat. The nutritional mainstays are beans and rice, or a chicken butchered on the spot.

"Rarely did the Marines ever put you out there with nothing. We had field sanitation and radios ... you felt the force of the U.S. government backing you up," he said. "Where my daughter is right now ? whatever is there, is there. It's a very do-it-yourself environment."

And it's unlikely the military would send a soldier to such an isolated village alone.

"The toughest thing for her is the lack of intellectual stimulation. Even though she speaks the language, the conversation is usually very straight-forward and simple," McCurtis said, imitating a typical exchange. "What are you doing? I'm cooking. Oh, you're cooking. Yeah." Silence.

She does a lot of reading, he noted.

McCurtis lugged several bags of supplies for his daughter, in which he packed bug spray, mosquito netting, sandals, boots, batteries and a book on resident mid-wifery, which is his daughter's main task in the village.

McCurtis' trip to Boca de Sabalos involved several days of expedition-like travel he compared to scenes in the movies "African Queen" and "Romancing the Stone," all to spend just 24 hours with his daughter.

From Soto Cano, he took the base shuttle service to the Tegucigalpa Airport where he boarded a flight to Managua, Nicaragua.

There, he hopped on a Cessna 208B, a plane that holds only about a dozen passengers. It landed on a dirt runway in San Carlos, Nicaragua. To reach Boca de Sabalos, he travelled several hours in a boat.

"You learn in life -- the more remote and isolated a place is, the more beauty there is. It's incredible to experience first-hand the serene beauty of it all," he said of his float beneath the jungle canopy.

"At the same time, there is disease, pestilence, the whole nine yards. When we got to the village, I saw a lot of amputees, or people deformed at birth from vitamin deficiencies."

Several bottles of vitamins were also in the goody bag intended for his daughter.

His daughter is likely to finish out her full two-year service, although several other volunteers who traveled to Nicaragua at the same time have already quit.

"I guess in that way, it's a little easier than the Marines. We couldn't walk away when we didn't like it," he joked.

"She was realistic going in, knowing she can't save the world, but that she can make a small difference. She understood her purpose was mostly to educate. Teaching lasts a lifetime. Her work only lasts while she's there," he said.

Growing up with a semper fidelis father also helps.

"With her, 'uncle!' is not an option. She's the kind who thinks once you start something you finish it," he said.

McCurtis works with the Naval Health Research Center in San Diego. After returning home, he might need to brush up on crocodile-fighting skills -- he has another child who intends to study in Australia.




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