Tuesday is November 10th. For most of the citizens of this great country, it is just another day. For many, it is the day before Veterans day; and probably just as meaningless as just another day. However, to a number of us it is the day the Marine Corps was officially founded. Yes, that would make this the 234th anniversary; or as we choose to call it, the Marine Corps Birthday.
Why, you probably ask, would grown, intelligent men and women choose to celebrate the birthday of a national fighting team? That would be a good question. I might basically answer by saying, there is no other fighting force known to modern man, that commands such respect, and awe as the United States Marine Corps. History is replete with comments from many sides. The name "Leatherneck" is a title of respect, earned by the men who rode the ships of the continental navy, and were prepared to defend them to the death. "Devil Dog" was an endearing name given by the Chinese many years ago. General MacArthur, General of the Army, made it known, that he could take a certain piece of land, but only with the Marines.
I joined the Marine Corps in August of 1963. For a small town boy, the Marine Corps was quite a wake up and learning experience. Consider, that in my seventeen years of life, the most powerful weapon I had ever fired was a .22 rifle. By the time I completed my basic training I had fired an M-1 and an M-14 rifle; a Browning Automatic Rifle; a flame thrower; a bazooka; a .50 caliber machine gun, and had thrown real grenades.
Perhaps the most endearing part of my time in the Marine Corps came from the understanding that our priority was God, country and Corps. You see, every Marine, male and female, is first of all a rifleman; a grunt, a groundpounder, an infantryman. A large part of basic training, was formulated to bring a bunch of rag-tag ignorant civilians and turn them into a team, capable of working together without getting in each other's way. Of primary importance was the person next to me, my life depended on that person, and they depended on me. I was taught ways of surviving in unfamiliar and uncomfortable situations.
In the end, being a United States Marine, has taught me many things, but more than anything, I learned to love the Corps, like my own mother and father, because that is where I learned many lessons that have served me well throughout my lifetime. I choose to celebrate the Marine Corps Birthday, because all I am has depended upon the skills learned and honed through sixteen years as a Marine. On the internet, I use the moniker "Gunny Pink", when I left the Marine Corps in 1979, I had attained the rank of Gunnery Sergeant, and for the rest of my life, my honorable discharge gave me the right to say I am Gunny Pink.
I wish every person could know the camaraderie and respect those of us who wear the Eagle, Globe and Anchor have. But then, if every body knew, and understood, there would be no need for a Marine Corps.
HAPPY 234TH BIRTHDAY, U.S. MARINE CORPS.