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…”