YOU ARE IN A "VERBAL SHRAPNEL" RICH DOMAIN
25 November 2008
The Butter-Cutter On Amphibious Warfare
“Isn't it great? The Commandant is trying to revive expeditionary warfare in the Marine Corps,” I said to The Butter-Cutter. *
“What's ta revive? We're on expeditions in Iraq 'n' Afghanistan 'n' have been fer years. Don't the Commandant get the news?”
“My apologies. I didn't fully describe the Commandant's intent. He wants to revive AMPHIBIOUS expeditionary warfare in the Corps,” I corrected.
“Amphibious? Ya mean puttin' Marines on ships 'n' goin' ta war from ships?” he asked.
“Of course. Ships are the traditional, if not the natural, transport of Marines,” I reminded The Butter-Cutter.
“Ah, no man. That amphibious stuff is ancient history; we don't do that anymore. Yer talkin' like 'Sands Of Iwo Jima' 'n' shit. Nah, I didn't join the Corps ta do ships!” he answered while shaking his head.
“What do you mean; you didn't join the Corps to do ships? You are in the Marine Corps. Amphibious operations are the Corps' reason for being.”
“Ah, Bull Shit! I didn't seen no amphibious stuff in them recruitin' ads on TV. All I saw was guys: marchin' around in Dress Blues; er, climbin' mountains; er, runnin' around in the desert. But, except fer that one guy who learned how ta swim in the Corps poppin' up in the middle o' the ocean, there ain't been no out in the water stuff. No man, that's the way ya old farts did Marine stuff . . . WWII . . . ancient history . . . we don't do that anymore!”
“What are you talking about? The Marine Corps has MEUs currently operating and prepared to conduct amphibious landings,” I countered.
“Mews? Mew! Mew! That's what pussies say. Man, Marines don't mew,” he responded.
“I'm talking about Marine Expeditionary Unit--that kind of MEU! A Marine infantry battalion is combined with air and other reinforcing Marine elements aboard ships to form a MEU. Are you telling me that you have never heard of a MEU?” I asked in disbelief.
“I ain't gone nowhere on no ship. My unit went ta Iraq by airplane 'n' we came back by airplane,” he answered. “I don't see no reason we can't keep movin' around by airplanes.”
“I see why the Commandant is so concerned. He has Marines who have never participated in an amphibious exercise,” I lamented.
“Be real! Desert Storm, Iraqi Freedom, the Global War on Terror, 'n' whatever . . . is all about fightin' on land. Tell me: When was the last time we did one o' them amphibious things against bad guys? Well, when?” he persisted.
“During Desert Storm, a Marine amphibious force was poised off Kuwait for a landing,” I answered.
“Ah, Bull Shit! I heard about that in Boot Camp. It was a fake ta fool them Iraqis inta thinkin' they were gonna land; but, they didn't land 'n' they weren't supposed ta land . . . a fake, that's what it was!” The Butter-Cutter lectured me.
“It was called a 'feint,' not a fake, and it did work to hold Iraqi forces in place in anticipation of a landing,” I explained. “If the Marine Corps wasn't known as an amphibious force, the feint would have probably failed,” I explained to The Butter-Cutter.
“They fainted? What kinda shit is that? No, man, it was a fake; Marines don't faint!” he said.
I just did not want to go into the difference between 'feint' and 'faint', so I went on to say, “The Commandant's principle concern is that there is barely enough ships to transport two reinforced Marine regiments to conduct a forcible-entryamphibious landing. With . . . “
“Hold on! Ya mean ta tell me that my Commandant wants us ta do an amphibious landing where there are bad guys on the beach--that 'forcible-entry' shit? Didn't he see 'Sands Of Iwo Jima?' That's what they did 'n' it was a fiasco! Man, don't he believe in 'lessons learned?' That amphibious forcible-entry shit ain't got it! Why don't we just fly over ta these wars like we been doin'?” The Butter-Cutter continued.
I was dumbfounded: a Marine who did not recognize the sea as his natural habitat. I tried one last time, “The forward deployment of Marine Expeditionary Forces, be they formed around a Marine infantry battalion or a Marine infantry regiment, gives the United States the capability to react quickly to contingencies with a combined arms force--infantry, artillery, tanks, and air--that has sustainability. This capability cannot be matched with the use of air transport,” I said in rational desperation.
“Oh, Horse Shit! If all that was so freakin' good, like ya say, we wouldda been doin' it all along 'n' Uncle Sugar ain't been doin' it that way. We . . . “
“SHUT UP!” I yelled at THE Butter-Cutter in losing my self-control. “You do not deserve the title of 'Marine!' Any Marine who does NOT recognize and accept their intrinsic tie to the sea wears the Marine uniform under false pretenses! I've had enough of you! GOOD DAY!” I said and turned immediately to walk away.
After taking several steps, I felt something hit me in the back followed by a clanging sound. I turned to see THE Butter-Cutter's fork on the deck by my feet.
“Hey, former intelligence Officer, ya been PUNKED 'N' FORKED!” he yelled before bursting out in a hysterical laugh while slapping the steam table with his hands.
I turned again and rapidly exited the virtual Mess Hall thinking: "That &%$#&@#* Butter-Cutter . . . one of these days . . ."
Semper . . . sigh,
Anthony F. Milavic
Major USMC (Ret.)
F. E. Dutch White said: November 25th, 2008 11:04 am
I was in the 5th Marine Regment from 1959 to 1960, and the 1st Marine Regiment from 1960 to 1961. A few of my more memorable times spent as a grunt was aboard ship and hitting various beachs aboard Camp Pendleton and a number of different places overseas. In my way of thinking, and in my humble opinion back then THAT was the real Corps, the "Amphibious" Corps, everything else was just the icing on the cake. Today, almost 50 years later, my attitude has not changed one iota. I retired in 1985 after putting in almost 28 years active duty serving first as an enlisted man and then as an LDO. Granted, a Marine is a Marine is a Marine ..... and then there are the Amphibious MARINES, the FMF of old. God Bless 'em. Semper Fi, Dutch
SGT.VICTOR NEGRON JR (0311) said: November 29th, 2008 12:54 am
DEAR SIRS:I SERVED FROM 9/51 TO 9/59,WITH 14 MONTHS IN KOREA BETWEEN 52 AND 53.. MY ADDRESS WAS G-3-7 1ST MAR DIV (REINF) FMF NEED I SAY MORE ?? TO THIS DATE, I WOULD CERTAINLY BE PREPARED TO PARTICIPATE IN AN AMPHIB OPER FOR SURE I WOULD NOT EMBARESS ANYONE IN FOLLOWING MY ORDERS. MY TRIPS TO LITTLE CREEK,AND THE MANY MOCKUP DRILLS WERE EXHAUSTING TO SAY THE LEAST. IN EARLY 51 I WAS WITH C 1ST. BAT.2ND MAR.2ND MAR DIV,FMF. SO MY ACTIVE TIME WAS WISELY IMPLEMENTED. I DID NOT MAKE ANY WARTIME AMPHIB OPER..BUT WAS PREPARED TO, DUE TO MY TRAINING.