From Captain John W. Thomason’s masterpiece Fix Bayonets.
Happy Birthday Marines. Semper Fidelis.
I got to thinking that, despite how much I like the little recruiting blurb, the original passage in Thomason’s book is even better. It should raise goose bumps on ANY Marine who has ever worn the Eagle, Globe, and Anchor:
And there were also a number of diverse people who ran curiously to type, with drilled shoulders and a bone-deep sunburn, and a tolerant scorn of nearly everything on earth. Their speech was flavored with navy words, and words culled from all the folk who live on the seas and the ports where our war-ships go. In easy hours their talk ran from the Tartar Wall beyond Peking to the Southern Islands down under Manila; from Portsmouth Navy Yard-New Hampshire and very cold-to obscure bush-whackings in the West Indies, where Cacao chiefs whimsically sanguinary, barefoot generals, with names like Charlemagne and Christophe, waged war according to the precepts of the French Revolution and the Cult of the Snake.
They drank the eau de vie of Haute-Marne, and reminisced on sake, and vino, and Bacardi Rum-strange drinks in strange cantinas at the far ends of the earth; and they spoke fondly of Milwaukee beer. Rifles were high and holy things to them, and they knew five-inch broadside guns. They talked patronizingly of the war, and were concerned about rations. They were the Leathernecks, the Old Timers; collected from ship’s guards and shore stations all over the earth to form the 4th Brigade of Marines, the two rifle regiments detached from the Department of the Navy by order of the President for service with the American Expeditionary Forces. They were the old breed of American regular, regarding the service as home and war as an occupation; and they transmitted their temper and character and view-point to the high-hearted volunteer mass which filled the ranks of the Marine Brigade.
Was lucky enough to sit at a table at last night’s Birthday Ball with Mac Owens and his lovely date, and a comrade from his days in 1st Bn 4th Marines and the Northern I Corps area of Vietnam. Both he and his Marine buddy had been Company Commanders with Karl Marlantes in 1/4, and both enthusiastically recommended Marlantes’ book Matterhorn. So that just moved to the top of the considerable pile making its way to the nightstand.