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Just Jack


Thanks man.  And I agree regarding morale, I don’t think either side would stand up for these levels of casualties in-game, but I’m doing it for the drama, and it’s been fun.  I think combat would have been every bit as effective/deadly, I just think there’d have been a lot more giving of ground (NATO falling back, Warsaw Pact pulling back and by-passing), but the games wouldn’t have been as fun for me if they ended after the first TOW shots, with either the Soviets falling back to find a new path, the US falling back after having ‘stung’ the Soviets a bit, or both.  I like the Hollywood version: the Soviets are the faceless, emotionless horde that just keeps coming, and NATO is fighting desperately to save civilization, with every single individual soldier aware of the stakes and willing to make the sacrifice.  Makes for awesome games! 😉

And yes, Marines love tropical climes and sandy beaches, but I was thinking more of liberty locations to be honest.  I obviously didn’t fight in Okinawa or Iwo Jima, but I was stationed on Oki for four years and made about a dozen trips to Iwo Jima.  The terrain on both is absolutely hellacious, I can’t even fathom how they did it.  There was a couple years when I was an instructor for our base Corporal’s Leadership Course, and we’d take the students down to Iwo Jima at the end of each course.  Moving off the beach, up the first embankment, with Suribachi staring down on you from your 10 o’clock, across the escarpment, then up the second embankment, where you skyline yourself to a series of concrete bunkers that are only 50 yards away, was difficult for young Marines in great shape carrying only deuce gear and water, not being shot at.  I couldn’t imagine (and never did) doing it with full gear, ammo, and weapons.  What those Marines did is nothing short of legend.

As is Smedley D Butler, who, along with Dan Daly, are hailed as heroes from Marine Boot Camp forward, as the only two Marines to win the Medal of Honor twice.  Butler is discussed in terms of his involvement in the Banana Wars, but then the stories usually switch to AA Cunningham and Chesty Puller, rather than getting into Butler’s (“Old Gimlet Eye”) views on US foreign diplomacy 😉  But that had its place as well, where it was discussed in NCO/SNCO academies with regards to the soldier as statesman in asymmetric warfare, and how far/where does the idea of empowering small unit leaders to seize the initiative to accomplish mission objectives (both combat and MOOTW, look that up! Talking Phase 3 and 4 operations) cross (bleed?) over to statesmanship, and what is the Marine’s role, rights, and responsibilities (at various echelons)?

So yeah, I’ve heard of the guy, and I’d wager you’ll not find a Marine that hasn’t heard of Smedley Butler, though not all will be familiar with his objections to Marines securing the way for pineapple, sugar, and tobacco companies.  Me, I’m way too simple for that: they tell you to go, you go.  I believe that, given his stature and notoriety, he not had the ability to voice his concerns, it was his duty to shape the battlefield as best he could for his Marines, which he attempted to do via the (attempted) establishment of doctrine as to when, where, and why Marines should be used.  I can also understand why civilian leadership had its issues, though the concept isn’t totally foreign (look at our, for a time accepted, ‘Powell Doctrine’).  But such things were beyond my scope of concern 😉