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Thursday, November 02, 2006

"Teufel hunden"

America is the World's 911. Well, at least in America's eyes. And in America when the going gets tough, really tough, she calls on the Marines. I am pretty sure, that is a global perspective. The United States Marine Corps is, and historically has been one of the World's premiere fighting forces. Ever since that November night in Tunn's Tavern, 1775, the few and the proud have stood in the gap. Their call to service is to protect the American fabric we call freedom and liberty.

Yesterday, I had the privilege to visit MCRD San Diego (again). I watched Drill Instructors mold the minds and bodies of new recruits. I took a moment to stop and stand at the edge of the infamous grinder and seized the moment. I heard the cadence of a passing platoon, the echoes of platoons responding to their leaders' direction. I felt the cool San Diego breeze on my face. I breathed in the once familiar odors of this incredible training facility. A facility that has produced men who have consistently been willing to stand in harms way against great odds and fulfill their mission. A mission that is often obscured in philosophy and politics. Protect our flag and the ideas that make up it's threads and colors. I reflected on the fact that this small base is one of two, that our country has, where drill instructors hold in their control a belief of an entire country. The Marines will stand their ground and keep the planet's first mega-power safe. They will fight as they did in every conflict of our country. They will strike fear in the hearts of those who oppose them.

In a place long ago, a group of young Marines, in a moment of chaos picked up their rifles and stood their ground. This place was called Belleau woods. The 4th Marine Brigade, 2nd Mar Div, defeated the German offensive that day against tremendous odds, while being greatly out numbered. The captured German General had never seen men fight so hard. He asked his captors " Who are you, you fight like 'Tefel Hunden.'" The term stuck. The German had given the Marines the nickname of "Dogs from Hell." Today we know it as "Devil Dogs." In honor of the Marines the French officially renamed Belleau wood to " Bois de la Brigade de Marine."

That moment of reflection by the grind became a time machine for me. I was whisked back a quarter of a Century. I was back at MCRD as a recruit. Various emotions began to wash over me like the sea crashes onto the sandy beach. The realization that these kids have no idea of what their lives will hold. As I laid in my rack at the age of 18, I had no idea of what was in store for me. I would never in a million years, have been able to foresee my place within the American machine. These kids will be the leaders of tomorrow. They will have unbelievable opportunities of greatness. A greatness that history often times stops and recognizes. I would have loved to share these thoughts with these kids working so hard to become men. Men with huge expectations placed on their shoulders from a country. Men of duty and honor. Men we call Marines!


Barrett, M said...

You have come a long way. I often wish I had served our country and, for not serving, I can recognize some of the blessings and difficulties I have missed.

Talking Bear said...

MB, Every pot is crafted by the Master craftsman for a reason. I too, have seen other pots that have different finishes on them that I thought I would rather have. But we were made with an exacting touch for a reason. Yours, my friend, is wonderfull just the way it is !

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