Tag Archives: US Marines

The Tsunami and the US Marine Corps


There is something enchanting about the Corps.  The United States Marine Corps.

It’s the only branch of service where the first letter is capitalized.

Marine.

Yes, we owe our current freedoms to ALL of our branches of service, especially during WWII (It seems, however, that our current leadership do not value that.).  Don’t get me wrong.  Many of you had fathers or grandfathers fight in the Army, Navy, USAAF during WWII.  Two of my uncles served in the US 8th Army as part of the then secret Military Intelligence Service. I just place the US Marine Corps at the top of my own personal list…  I am but a citizen and like Obama and Clinton, I have never served although I got close in 1973…but I sure the hell didn’t flee the draft like a former President we know.¹

Yet, why does our media castrate or belittle the Marines so much?  I just do not understand.

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Okinowa
Definitely not Iwo Jima, Saipan or Guadalcanal but perhaps Okinawa.  These Japanese children are wearing Marine helmets given to them for protection; you can see the Marines in combat behind them.
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US Marines on Saipan helping a very old Japanese man to safety.
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US Marines rendering aid to a Japanese child.
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US Marines rendering aid to a Japanese child.

Old Man Jack endured combat in the SW Pacific during WWII as a sailor.  Put it this way: for whatever reason, he volunteered for duty in 1942, soon after Pearl.  One very piercing and ugly flashback he would endure while describing what truly went on in war was, “If you got killed with shit in your pants, you got buried with shit in your pants.”

I think of all the boys and young men who were killed on those “stinkin’ islands” as Old Man Jack called them.  One step to the left or just taking that step one second earlier or later meant instant death.  And on Iwo Jima, there was no “front line”.  The enemy hid in caves or were secreted away by camouflage or were in well hidden concrete fortifications that they had years to build.  They would pop out of a tunnel that the Marines just “cleared”.  Death came from all directions for very young Marines. Same at Pelileu. At Guadalcanal.  At Saipan.  Many other small islands.

Yet, they fought – and died for their buddies – to be buried with soiled dungarees in that black talcum-powder like sand like Old Man Jack horribly recollected. Or in an unmarked grave deep in a jungle on Guadalcanal, forever lost.

But why does the media today showcase to no end an instance when front line Marines urinate on dead Taliban?  Because it isn’t PC? Or because its a paycheck?  And the injustice – yes, injustice – served upon the Marines by the media during Viet Nam?  I, for one, thank each and every one of the military who were in Viet Nam.

But most importantly, why DOESN’T the media showcase all of the other gazillion humanitarian acts performed by the Marines?

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At least the Japanese media appreciated the US Marines during the tsunami’s aftermath.

Well, since in my opinion CNN and other outlets have their own agenda, I will write about just one of the HUGE US Marine humanitarian efforts here.  In my tiny corner of this blogging universe.

Because the Obama tainted media won’t and I think that sucks.

When the devastating tsunami hit Japan in 2011, who were the first ones to render aid to the pockets of isolated Japanese civilians?

It was the United States Marine Corps.  In the typical and expected norm for Marines, they were the first ones there…  even before Japan’s own relief efforts reached them.

Did you know that?  They got to many of the isolated survivors before their own government did.

(Note: some of the footage immediately above will be of the USN)

And one thing you will also notice about these desperate Japanese people in the footage.

There was no rioting.  No looting.  No screams about, “You need to bring us more.  We are entitled to it,” when the desperately needed supplies were unexpectedly choppered in.

The exact opposite.  The shocked, hungry and cold Japanese formed chains to help unload the desperately needed water, food, clothing, medicine and kerosene… then distributed them amongst themselves in an orderly fashion.

It was all for one… and the Japanese appreciated the Marines.

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Dozens of those rescued by the US Marines wave their thanks energetically to the departing Marines.  http://www.31stmeu.marines.mil

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But how much footage of the Marines’ relief efforts did you see on TV back then?  Very little, I think.  I wager that you likely didn’t even HEAR of the US Marine relief efforts.

Excuse me.  Anderson Cooper was there on a Japanese street corner in the evening, broadcasting for CNN.  But he didn’t report about our military helping tremendously in their relief efforts.

He was stirring up the media pot.  He was accusing alluding to the Japanese government hiding the truth about the Fukushima nuclear power plant meltdown.

Right there on a Japanese street corner.

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Old Man Jack fondly recollected “tussling” with the Marines back then because “they thought they were better than us white caps”.  But he followed that up real quick by saying there was no one better than the Marines to protect his sorry ass with theirs when it came time.

Well, if we are stranded somewhere like the tsunami victims, I’m sure the Marines will be coming.

They’ll even help Anderson Cooper…reluctantly.

 

Footnote:

1  You can decide for yourself about Clinton and the draft.  You cannot argue you didn’t agree with the war.  It was a duty, plain and simple.  Senator Fulbright pressured the officer in charge of the ROTC program at the University of Arkansas to accept Clinton.  By doing so, Clinton’s induction would be delayed.  Instead, he fled to England to further his studies at Oxford.  Google “Clinton letter to Col. Holmes”.

Dinah Mite


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Sixty-nine years ago today, the B-29 Superfortress “Dinah Mite” made the first emergency landing on Iwo Jima. The battle for the tiny sulfur island was still raging as she landed.

7,000 young US Marines and 21,000 young Japanese soldiers died violent deaths for this tiny sulfur island.

(Note: Combat was still going on the left side of the makeshift runway as they were landing.  Although the B-29 was repaired and left the same day, she returned a month later for another emergency landing.  She was so heavily damaged that Dinah Might was abandoned.)

A Humbling Easter Sunday


5th Marines

Easter Sunday turned out to be a tough day – emotionally for me, at least.

But it was even tougher for a 90 year old widow of the Greatest Generation.

Marge.

Marge Johnson.

We went to visit her husband’s grave site…

Mr. Doreston “Johnny” Johnson.  Sergeant, United States Marine Corps.  World War II.

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As I was cutting down trees and chipping the cuttings in the backyard this past Good Friday, Marge’s caretaker drove Marge up to see me.  What a pleasant surprise – besides, it gave me a great excuse to stop working. I hate yard work.

After chatting, she brought up her husband.  It had been a year since his funeral with full military honors and that she hadn’t been back to see him.

She didn’t need to say anything more.

We agreed I would take her to see him two days later – Easter Sunday.

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Mostly, I will let the few pictures and short videos speak for themselves.

Her first words as she saw his gravestone:
Her first words as she saw his gravestone: “Oh, my darling…” in a quivering voice.

Mr. Johnson

They loved each other greatly.
They loved each other greatly.
She sat there, talking to him, for about 45 minutes. I left her alone for most of the time.
She sat there, talking to him, for about 45 minutes. I left her alone for most of the time.

She loved and missed him so much, she struggled out of her walker to kneel down and kiss his gravestone.  I offered to help and she said, “This is something I have to do on my own…”  Such fortitude.

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After I DID help her back up (she said I could help her now), she reminisced with me at graveside before we departed:

On the way back to the car, we took a break (in the hot sun) as her legs are weak now.  As any great lady from that great generation does, she thanked me over and over for taking her to see her husband, especially on Easter Sunday, while crying.  I said to her that Mr. Johnson and Old Man Jack could never forget the horrors from combat but they were the greatest human beings – because they learned to forgive – and that it was an honor she asked ME… an American of Japanese descent, to escort her to visit with her husband.

These Americans from back then gave their all for our country… and nearly all of them have outlived their friends.  They are now alone – after all that sacrifice that you nor I will EVER weather.

I think they deserve better.

We should all try to return the favor, no matter how small the gesture, when the opportunity presents itself.

Indeed, a humbling Easter Sunday.