2014 Marine Corps Birthday Message

Posted on: November 9th, 2014 by Will Rodriguez 7 Comments
YP 1968

Every November 10th Majrod has me perform the proper benedictions and deliver the Gruntsandco Marine Corps Birthday greeting.  “It is altogether fitting and proper that we do so…”

I usually just remind my fellow Marines that even though our beloved Corps is absolutely drenched and besotted with glory… that we did not do it all.   No Marines fell at Antietam, at Gettysburg, or at Bastogne… and only one at the Little Big Horn.  Throughout our history there has been plenty of work for everybody at the “sharp end…”

But this year something else needs to be said.  These past four years the Marine Corps has been like an old “ship of the line” caught up in a storm caused by both external and internal factors.  The Marine Corps must never be political… but politics, both external (and unfortunately, sometimes internal) can toss us about pretty severely.

Some Marines who are former active duty or retired think that it is not for us to comment on faults or problems with the Corps… caused by external or internal forces.  Nonsense.  We are not active or reserve members who are bound by military discipline.

It is *our* Marine Corps… all of us… living and dead going back a couple of centuries.  Those who draw active duty paychecks are stewards with the responsibility and authority… but not the “owners…”   Those of us who put our dress blues in mothballs have opinions… and we have a voice (just attend any Marine Corps League meeting to get plenty of both…)  It would be indeed strange if every cheeseburger in the Republic was entitled to give voice to an opinion about the Corps… but not those who once were part of it.

So long as our criticism is constructive (especially around those not of the brotherhood) then it is our right and duty to make ourselves heard.  The Marine Corps has faults… it always has… but as in the aftermath of Ribbon Creek it can correct those faults and move on.

No longer in uniform, we may be partisan.  The Marine Corps must not.  However, speaking for myself and not the Corps… I see a glimmer of light… We have a new Congress that is not hostile to the defense needs of the country.  We have a new Commandant who has the opportunity to show inspired leadership.

So, my brethren…  go forth to the Birthday Ball… or parties (In Boise, Quinn’s… watering hole run by Korean War era Marine) and sing the old songs of glory and dazzle the young lads with tales of “The Old Corps…”

Semper Fi,

-Yankee Papa-
0311 1968-70

Be Respectful, Candid and Pertinent. No Posers, No Trolls…
  • Happy Birthday USMC!!!

  • LauraKinCA

    Happy Birthday to the Marine Corps!

  • Txazz

    Oorah and Happy Birthday, Marine Corps!

  • Riceball

    A little late but, Happy Birthday to my beloved Corps.

    Btw, I had no idea that there was a Marine serving with the 7th Cav at the Little Bighorn. You’d think that that little tidbit would be a little more common knowledge since the idea of joint forces hadn’t even been thought of at the time much less implemented. I have to wonder what a Marine was doing serving in an Army cavalry regiment, now I have to look it up.

  • YankeePapa

    Riceball ,
    .
    …The lad was a Scandinavian immigrant, arrived on the East Coast with his mother.  Tall, likely looking young man.  Wanted a job to support his mother.  But there was a Depression in 1875… no work for new immigrants.  So he joined the Marine Corps.  
    .
    …He went through training and did just fine… got his mother set up.  Then they hit him with the big shocker.  He was going to be attached to a Marine Detachment on a warship and sail off to Asia.  That was fine… the problem was the pay arrangements… They would not set up an allotment sort of thing for his mother… (after all, he might be dead for months before the pay office back on the East Coast ever found out.) 

    .
    …He would be paid overseas.  He had no way to get funds back to his mother in any timely manner… She would likely wind up in the poor house.  He could not do that to her so he “took the gap” (Rhodesian term for desertion or AWOL).
    .
    …Still a Depression going… But this was in the days before fingerprints and computers.  He left the port city and at his first opportunity enlisted in the Army.  After training (probably at Jefferson Barracks) he was assigned to the 7th Cavalry and was with the five troops that rode down Medicine Tail Coulee onto the valley of the Greasy Grass at the Little Bighorn.  
    .
    …Eventually his mother found out about his death and applied for a pension.  Well, couple of problems with that… In the first place, members of the military who are AWOL or have deserted immediately have all pay stopped.  In the second place back then, as now… a “new” enlistment is not valid until the old one has been officially closed out.  
    .
    …I have to believe that some Congressman was up for re-election… and this story would be better than kissing babies… In any event, he attached a special rider on a major piece of legislation authorizing the lad’s mother to receive a pension.  The legislation with rider (and probably a lot of other riders) passed.  
    .
    …However, the paperwork went through the Marine Corps… not the Army as he was still a Marine when he died.  Unlike most deserters, his reason far more compelling than most… and he died in combat facing the enemy.  
    .
    -YP-

  • YankeePapa

    Riceball ,
    .
    …I originally read the story about the Marine at the Little Big Horn  in a Military History magazine type publication back in the 1980s.  Best info that I can find in later years…  Magazine had him from Scandinavia… but Burke is an Irish name.  Still, has to be him… there may have been more than one deserter hiding in the regiment under another name (not terribly uncommon at that time given the large number of Civil War deserters and the fact that something like 25% of the post Civil War Army deserted each year between 1866-1890) but unlikely to be more than one Marine. 

    .
    Burke, PVT John
    (aka Pardee, Oscar F.) d. 25 Jun 1876, killed
    at the Little Big Horn, Company L, private.  Enlisted 29 Aug 1875 in U.S. Marine Corps;
    deserted 28 Sep 1875. Enlisted 29 Sep 1875 in Seventh Cavalry. Body
    found on Custer Hill (Scott, in one spot, has him killed on Reno Hill,
    but this is incorrect). Listed number 196 in “June Returns, Alterations
    … Killed in action.”
    .
    -YP-

  • YankeePapa

    Riceball ,
    .
    …There is only one thing that I do not like about Majod’s site.  There is an “erase” area… that does not work.  If I make a mistake and don’t catch it in the first five minutes on other sites I can just copy the posting, delete, and re-post, making correction.  
    .
    …I should have said Burke is not a Scandinavian name but can be either Irish *or* English.  As to why he chose “Pardee” instead of “Smith”… (recruiters got a lot of “Smiths” for all sorts of reasons…) it might have been random… or… Pardee is a name with many distinguished branches… sort of like “Westmoreland”  (See Shakespeare, Henry V).  If he was of Irish stock it would definitely be an extra bit of distancing… (again, not that the recruiters were going to care…)
    .
    -YP-