Every year I wish my fellow Marines all the best on the occasion of the Birthday of our beloved Marine Corps. I also remind them that though the Corps is positively besotted with glory… other services have done their part as well. No Marines died at Shiloh or Gettysburg or Bastogne or the Ia Drang… and only one at the Little Big Horn.
A new Commandant gives us at least some hope for an improvement in the running of the Marine Corps. But PC has impacted the Corps as it has other services. Army ROTC cadets forced to wear women’s high heels with their uniforms for a “sensitivity” event…
A couple of years back the Corps authorized Marines in dress blues to march in a gay pride event. No matter the “smoke and mirrors”, the Commandant had to have signed off on it. A fair number of gay Marines probably shunned the event for fear that some idiot would wear a dog collar with his uniform… others simply because the uniform is not worn at events that can be viewed as having political overtones.
Had some officer… from the Commandant on down… authorized the wearing of the uniform at a National Rifle Association convention… his career would be over. Yet both events perfectly legal. But the latter would have caused a firestorm from the administration. Both events improper venues for the uniform… but the Corps high brass either yielded to… or was in terror of… heat from politicos.
Just as with our comrades in other services, we are faced with massive pressure to qualify significant numbers of women for combat arms… including infantry. To date the result among female officer and enlisted trainees has been dismal for those politicos more interested in social metaphysics than in the defense of the Republic. But this train will run on time… whether it involves lowering the standards, giving “special assistance” to the candidates… or just “holding a pistol” at the careers of the instructors and school commanders… the desired results will eventually be achieved if this goes on long enough.
I got to ITR (Infantry Training Regiment) in 1968… followed by BITS. In terms of fitness, I was somewhere in the top half of the trainees… nothing special (5′ 10″, 130 lbs…) But almost every lad graduated from Infantry training. It was “rigorous”, but it was not an “iron man” competition. Yet a very large % of females who have graduated from Marine Corps Recruit Training… fail the course. The attempts will continue…
The Marine Corps has survived political (and sometimes institutional) stupidity in the past. For a time after the Civil War politicians used their influence to get (often badly unqualified) sons of political supporters direct commissions as officers in the Corps. A couple of Commandants in the late 1800s refused to see beyond ship detachments and rejected any idea of what would many decades later evolve into the Fleet Marine Force. One Commandant even tried to convert the entire Marine Corps into Coastal Artillery… (fortunately the Army insisted on keeping that role…)
So, if this doesn’t go on too long… maybe we will get through the “crazy years” with a Corps that inspires pride in its current members… its veterans… and fear into its enemies.