Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The Marine General who made me angry

From the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli they’ve been called Leathernecks, earned when Lieutenant Presley O’Bannon and his Marines landed at Derna, Libya to fight the Barbary Pirates. They’ve been called Devil Dogs, earned during World War I during actions in Belleau Woods.

They are the few, the proud, our U.S. Marines, the men and women of the scarlet and gold. They live by a code, a motto: “Semper Fidelis” — Always Faithful.

But is our modern United States Marine Corps, Semper Paratus, always ready and can they still be referred to as “America’s 911 Force?” Have we made the Marines, too few, while they strive to uphold their pride and honor?

As reported by, “If the Marines were called today to respond to an unexpected crisis, they might not be ready, a top Marine general told the Senate Armed Services Committee on [this past] Tuesday.

Gen. John Paxton, assistant commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, testified to lawmakers that the Marines could face more casualties in a war and might not be able to deter a potential enemy.

“I worry about the capability and the capacity to win in a major fight somewhere else right now,” he said, citing a lack of training and equipment.

Paxton, along with the vice chiefs of the Army, Navy and Air Force, spoke to the Senate committee on the readiness challenges facing each service after 15 years of war and recent budget cuts.

For the Marines, he said units at home face the most risk because of fewer training opportunities with the best equipment deployed with forces overseas. And it would be these undertrained home units that would be called to respond to an unexpected crisis.

“In the event of a crisis, these degraded units could either be called upon to deploy immediately at increased risk to the force and the mission, or require additional time to prepare thus incurring increased risk to mission by surrendering the initiative to our adversaries,” Paxton said.

“This does not mean we will not be able to respond to the call … It does mean that executing our defense strategy or responding to an emergent crisis may require more time, more risk, and incur greater costs and casualties.”

I spent a three-year joint exchange assignment with the II Marine Expeditionary Force (II MEF) at Camp Lejeune and it was without a doubt one of the top three assignments I had in my twenty-two year military career. I learned . . . Read More

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