UNITED STATES MARINES
What is a Peace Hero? Webster describes a hero as, A man noted for courageous acts or nobility of purpose. One who has risked or sacrificed his life . Peace is described as, The absence of war or other hostilities . Isn t that the life of a Marine? Every day they are willing to risk their lives for the courageous act of peace. Values such as Honor, Courage, and Commitment are what make Marines and in essence, Heroes. Up until 1999 I never really thought about the Marine Corps, but when my brother became a Marine, my knowledge of what they stand for greatly increased. I realize throughout the 20th Century, there has been many peace heroes. But where would these heroes be without the heroes behind the scenes maintaining the peace in which they live.
The Marines have a greater responsibility than we can possibly fathom. They hold the essence of peace in their hands. With courage they defend the country they are called to serve. Many of us do not understand this calling, but we enjoy the benefits they provide. While we work our eight-hour days and go to a safe place of refuge called home, they are deployed from their home, family, and friends to a foreign country not always safe. They guard their post without question, putting their very lives on the line every day, all day. They provide a blanket of security for all of us to sleep under, yet during peace times we forget they are still there, guarding, keeping us safe from harm.
During the 20th Century many wars were fought, from the Philippine-American War (1899-1902) to the Persian Gulf War (1991), the Marines were there serving and protection our nation. Marines have participated in all wars of the United States, being in most instances first, or among the first to fight. After the war is declared officially over, the Marines stay as a peacekeeping force. Often the mere presence of the Marines is enough of a deterrent to keep peace. This has earned them the famous quote, First In, Last Out . In tradition, the world famed the Marine Corps as the important role of being the force in readiness to help keep the peace throughout the world. (Continental 13) Marines have been in the forefront of every American War since the founding of the Corps. They have carried out over 300 landings on foreign shores, and served everywhere from the poles to the tropics. Their record of readiness reflects pride, responsibility and courage.
The Marine Corps is a self-contained combat force within the Department of the Navy. In addition to supporting the fleet, Marine detachments serve on large warships. They guard the President of the United States, willing to give their life for his. Overseas, Marines are stationed at embassies and legations to protect American interests and maintain peace. They are responsible for security forces for naval shore installations and U.S. diplomatic missions in foreign countries. In peacetime they provide security detachments for the protection of navel property at naval stations and bases. The Marines, the nation s All Force, are being charged with being the most ready when the nation is least ready. This means deploying to the Four Corners of the world to preserve the freedom Americans enjoy.
Being a Marine is the most challenging and rewarding responsibility a person could face. It is a known fact that the Marines have the toughest and most difficult training course in the world. Men and women from all over the world try their abilities of strength and courage to see what life can throw at them, and what it is to be a true Marine. The United States Marine mental and moral qualities have been tested throughout history. Through the long history of the Marine Corps there are examples, both in war and in peace, or such qualities as versatility, trustworthiness, singleness and tenacity of purpose, courage, faithfulness, and self-sacrifice (Video).
The most outstanding custom in the Marine Corps is simply being a Marine and all that it implies. It is that pride which sets a United States Marine apart from the men of other armed services. Perhaps it has best been defined by Senator Paul H. Douglas: Those of us who have had the privilege of serving in the Marine Corps value our experience as among the most precious of our lives. The fellowship of shared hardships and dangers in the worthy cause creates a close bond of comradeship. It is the basic reason for the cohesiveness of Marines and for the pride we have in our Corps and our loyalty to each other. (Douglas) A Marine is proud of his Corps and believes it to be second to none. He is loyal to his comrades and to the Marine Corps, adhering always to the motto Semper Fidelis that is Latin for always faithful. Faithful to God, Country, Family, and the Corps.
Marines may be known for being hard and tough, but they also have hearts when disasters strike. For example, when, tornadoes, hurricanes, and floods hit the Marines are always there to help rebuild the victims lives again. Marines went ashore in September 1994 at Cape Haitian, Haiti, as part of the U.S. force participating in the restoration of democracy in that country. During this same period Marines were actively engaged in providing assistance to the Nation’s counter-drug effort, assisting in battling wild fires in the western United States, and aiding in flood and hurricane relief operations.
Today’s Marine Corps stands ready to continue in the proud tradition of those who so valiantly fought and died at Belleau Wood, Iwo Jima, Chosin Reservoir and Khe Sanh. As stated by the Corps’ 31st Commandant, General Charles C. Krulak, “Our warfighting legacy is one of duty, strength, sacrifice, discipline, and determination. These themes are cornerstones of the individual Marine and of our Corps. Indeed, they are woven into the very fabric of our battle color. However, while we reflect on our past, let us also rededicate ourselves to a future of improvement. For, as good as we are now, we must be better tomorrow. The challenges of today are the opportunities of the 21st century. Both will demand much of us all.” Combining a long and proud heritage of faithful service with the leadership and resolve to face tomorrow’s challenges will keep the Marine Corps the “best of the best.” They ARE the 20th Century Peace Heroes.
Continental Marine Fall 1998 5-23
Marines Welcome Aboard Video
Marine Corps 31st Commandant, General Charles C. Krulak
Senator Paul H. Douglas in his introduction to The United States Marines: A Pictorial History .