Browsing: History and heritage

Marines love Gen. James Mattis so much that there’s even a special Christmas tale about the “warrior monk” that makes the rounds on the Internet each holiday season. As the story goes, Mattis stepped in for a young Marine who had guard duty at Marine Corps Combat Development Command in Quantico, Va., on Christmas Eve back in 1998. Mattis — then a one-star — is rumored to have told the Marine on duty to go home and spend the holiday with his family. Mattis took over and spent the night pulling guard duty. Now, we know Marines love Mattis. We’ve seen…

Ten years ago, more than 100,000 U.S. forces sat poised in the Kuwait desert, waiting for a breakneck push over the Iraqi border to Baghdad. The U.S. invasion began March 20, 2003. Given the sheer scope and costs of the subsequent war in Iraq, it only seemed appropriate that the Military Times newspaper chain would mark the anniversary of the invasion. To that end, we’ve launched “10 Years After the Invasion,” a four-part series. The series, published online here, includes interviews with many of the planners who designed the initial takedown of Baghdad. Consider these comments in Part 2 of…

It may be one of the most gripping Marine images to emerge from Operation Iraqi Freedom: a 2004 photo snapped by freelance combat photographer Lucian Read depicting wounded Marine 1st Sgt. Bradley Kasal, his uniform soaked in blood, being carried out of Fallujah’s famous “House of Hell” by two lance corporals. Here’s a chilling account of what took place in the Hell House, from Shootout! D-Day Fallujah, on the History Channel: Kasal would receive the Navy Cross for bravery that day under fire and despite severe wounds to both legs. Now, the photo that captured Kasal’s heroism and the grit of…

When it comes to marking the Marine Corps’ 237th birthday, customs and tradition make the decision of what to do much easier. Commandant’s birthday video message? Check. Reading of Maj. Gen. John A. Lejeune’s 1921 message? Check. Ceremonial cake? Check. Then there are the birthday balls and pageants where Marines and their significant others get all spiffed up to celebrate their history and remember those lost in battle. This past week, and for some units over the course of several weeks, Marines in different climes and places stopped for a little while to mark their history and celebrate their shared…

On Nov. 10  Marines will celebrate the 237th birthday of the Marine Corps. Cake cutting ceremonies and birthday balls will be held throughout the next few weeks as a way to honor the sacrifice and service of Marines past and present. On Oct. 24 I spoke with Bonnie Amos, wife of Commandant Gen. Jim Amos, following an event for military spouses to discuss careers, deployments and romance aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va. Since Marines all over the world will celebrate the Corps’ birthday later this week, I asked Amos about tips for those attending this year’s festivities: [HTML1] I…

The Navy’s once-mighty fleet of battleships plied the seas with more than 2,600 sailors, and a few Marines. The leathernecks weren’t just aboard to keep the sailors in line. In true character as riflemen, Marines assigned to battleships’ Marine Detachments manned some the ship’s 10 five-inch guns. Not quite the firepower of the main massive 16-inch gun turrets that gave battleships their famous, and lethal, silhouette, the twin gun mounts were formidable naval guns nonetheless. The Iowa, a 887-foot battleship commissioned in 1943, now sits at Berth 87 in the Los Angeles port of San Pedro, Calif., where in July it…

The country lost a legend on Friday with the death of Sgt. Maj. Henry Black, the service’s oldest surviving sergeant major of the Marine Corps. As noted in an obituary I wrote Monday, Black served in combat in both Korea and Vietnam, even earning a Silver Star for heroism as a junior Marine. It’s his leadership that Marines miss the most, however. Retired Sgt. Maj. Carlton Kent, the Corps’ 16th sergeant major of the Marine Corps, recalled Black as a father figure and mentor when I spoke with him Monday. Sgt. Maj. Mike Barrett, the Corps’ current top enlisted Marine,…

This week marks the 100th anniversary of Marine Corps aviation, and the service is doing it in style. If you haven’t seen this video clip yet, you’ll probably want to check it out. It begins with a message from Commandant Gen. Jim Amos, then shifts to high-speed video footage recorded in the cockpit of several different aircraft. The heavy metal muzak comes free of charge: [HTML1]

The Pentagon’s halls are adorned with artifacts, paintings and portraits that herald each of the service’s illustrious histories. Walking from one wing to another visitors and staff pass portraits of military greats like Maj. Gen. John A. Lejeune, Gen. George S. Patton, and Adm. Chester Nimitz. One portrait, however, was a mystery that turned out to be a prank of epic proportions. Check out this story by the Wall Street Journal on how Capt. Eldridge Hord III, now 53, has had his portrait hanging in the nation’s seat of military power for nearly a year with a plaque claiming it…

A swing through Jacksonville, N.C., just wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Sywanyk’s. It’s a bar in a building that is so filled with Marine Corps memorabilia that it almost defies description. In fact, retired Sgt. Maj. Ihor Sywanyk, owner of the one-of-a-kind bar/museum can only describe it this way: “You just come on right in, I won’t charge you and I might even buy you a drink…  you will be impressed and amazed and if you don’t like it, don’t come back… but they always come back,” he told me on my third visit. Sywanyk (pronounced swah-nick), an…

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