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Dec. 2012: Inside the December 2012 Marine Corps Gazette
Submitted by Margot on November 21, 2012 - 12:17pm
MCA: 100 Years of Service
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Recent Blog Posts
April 26, 2013:
The Marine Corps is facing a host of challenges and must contend with the current fiscal pressure on all of DoD while trying to innovate after a decade of war. It will likely have to reduce its endstrength while adapting to a new threat environment. These challenges should force the Marine Corps to reconsider some fundamental premises today that will help it effectively adapt to the operational environment ten to twenty years from now.
April 11, 2013:
Please keep in mind that my last article about dropping tanks and other such 'heavy' things was not a recommendation that I think the Marine Corps needs to take under serious consideration. Just as today I am not suggesting we drop all of our fixed wing aircraft tomorrow. This series is more of an intellectual exercise about a hypothetical forced necessity, a modified form of the "What now Lieutenant?" question. If Congress provides a manpower cap of approximately 100,000, the new question becomes "what now General (and General staffs)?" I believe this is a useful exercise, and one that could be helpful in putting into perspective the difference between absolute necessity (infantry Marines) and nice-to-haves in the Marine Corps (tanks?).
March 26, 2013:
Just the other day, I was discussing sequestration with a fellow officer. After we got into the discussion of what it means for the Marine Corps, we began to imagine about what would happen if over the next several years there were further cuts to DoD. As something of a thought experiment, we asked ourselves, what would a Marine Corps with an end strength of 100k look like?
March 4, 2013:
As Sequester hits, and the current economic situation suggesting potential for further future cuts, the the US Government, and DoD in paticular, are naturally considering various cost saving measures. One measure that should be implemented, in this author's humble opinion, is a "brevet" system of promotion. Not identical, but similar to our current method of frocking, and also not identical, but similar to the former use of "brevet ranks" by the US Military
March 3, 2013:
Up until last week, in my six years of civil service with the Marine Corps, I had never attended a work-related training, education or professional-development course. They've been offered to me every year, but I was just never interested. A week-long course on conflict resolution in Shepherdstown, WV, sounds like a boondoggle, and when you look at the opportunity cost (a week out of the office, a $4K+ bill for the government, etc.), it just doesn't seem like a lot of value added. For a long time, I'd been hearing a lot of great things from Marine and civilian coworkers about the Institute for Defense and Business's (IDB's) courses, and I thought I'd try one out this year. It was a great decision.
Historic Marine Corps Gazette Covers
According to LtCol Rathvon M. Tompkins' article To War by Air the next amphibious campaigning of the Marine Corps will probably have a third dimension added to the attack. "Vertical envelopment" is not new to the Corps, but was shelved in early 1944 because the Pacific theater offered little opportunity for the employment of paramarines or airborne troops.
The blast of the Bomb and its tremendous potential made our amphibious planners take time out for another look at the "book." Those of you who are pondering, and who are planning ways and means of circumventing the effect the Bomb might have on present tactical and logistical amphibious concepts, might do well to pause a moment and take a look at Who Said Impossible? (Pg. 10, Jan. 1955 MCG).
With military aviation currently emphasizing jet-propulsion, the fighter planes of the war's beginning seem archaic by comparison. But before too condescending an attitude is developed toward such planes as the Grumman Wildcat, it would be well to look over the record. The record in this case is very vividly described in Capt DeChant's Devil Birds.
This month marks Maj Houston Stiff's debut as a Gazette cover artist as well as his first issue as editor and publisher. The double spread illustrates a small patrol operating on Choiseul. The Marines were from a parachute battalion and that explains the presence of the Johnson weapons.
"Mark Fifteen!" Judging from his elated expression, the boot in the prone position seems to have black disks before his eyes. Marines from coast to coast and beyond, are wearing shooting jackets this spring; and the crack of small-arms fire becomes a familiar part of post routine. No live targets this year, but Marines are bound to burn powder, whether or not the targets shoot back.
Marines have patrolled many streets in their time, but none more fascinating than those in China. Maj Houston Stiff depicts two MPs strolling along what might be a hutung in the native quarter of any North China city.
Back in the days before fiber helmets, master sergeants and SSNs, there was a breed in the Marine Corps known to the files as "Gunny." He was a man of dignity, this "Gunny," and had the Marine Corps Manual in his head, a ramrod down his back, and authority in his voice. He's still around, here and there, but mostly he wears bars and leaves instead of chevrons.
In June 1944, the V Amphibious Corps broke away from atoll stepping stones and made a giant stride across the Central Pacific. There was a hot welcome at the beaches there for the 2d and 4th Divisions, and final victory was 12 miles and 25 days away. Long remembered will be Saipan's cane fields and cliffs, caves and civilian suicides.
The lanky captain with the microphone is delivering a running commentary on the demonstration you see in progress in the background. What you don't see is the careful staging and rehearsing which preceded the exercises; for in the Quantico schools, the hours of preparation are far more numerous than the hours of execution.
The scene of the cover will not be familiar to Marines, since the Japanese tanks we met were mostly rather flimsy affairs. Moreover, the Japanese were fortunately somewhat less than clever in their employment of tanks, which was probably very lucky for us. But will it be the same in future wars? LtCol Arthur J. Stuart thinks not, and he's frankly a little worried. His article begins on page 18 of the October 1947 issue.
On the tenth of November, Marine gather for a family ceremony. They hear familiar words-- Article 1-55, Marine Corps Manual. And because the words are familiar, it may be that some of the significance will be lost. Familiar words: "...all that is highest in military efficiency and soldierly virtue... Marines will be found equal to every emergency in the future as they have been in the past..." This is a time when such words should have a meaning.
In the last two great wars the United States has been forced to impose her will on the continent of Europe. Now with planning done on a tri-dimensional, global scale, even this huge target is over-limited. Borrowing a page from the geopolitician's book we must learn to think in terms of heart lands and peripheries. Maj Guy Richards has done this thinking very well in his Target Eurasia and the Next War, starting on page 10 of the December 1947 issue.
It may not be warm and balmy where you are, but you can bet there are Marines in other parts of the world who are sweating out troop and drill and field problems in tropical climes. Of course the daily grind of training is always interspersed with a welcome "take 10" -- time for a smoke, a drink of water, or time to read that letter again. But hovering in the background will be that voice of authority ready with "Saddle up" when the sand runs of the glass.
Before you dash off a letter to Message Center regarding the weird looking 782 gear being carried by the Marines on the cover please check In Brief on page 40 (Mar. 1955, MCG). It will give you a resume and description of the equipment we borrowed from the Equipment Board so TSgt Stanley Dunlap could do a graphic illustration of what tomorrow's best dressed Marine will wear in combat.
The English longbow and the clothyard shaft sounded the death knell of body armor at the Battle of Crecy in 1346. The advent of gunpoweder and changes in tactics completed the coup de grace, and armor lay forgotten as a decadent relic of the age of chivalry. Six centuries later, at the Naval Medical Field Research Laboratory, Camp Lejeune, a man stood up in a vest made of plastic plates and nylon fibers--his colleague fired a .45 at him. The vest and the pioneer withstood the test, and soon after Marines were wearing the new body armor in Korea.
The pyrotechnics you see the evening of the July 4th celebration will pale in comparison with the spectacle afforded by the night firing exercise demonstrations planned for the thousands of Marine Reserves who will attend camp this summer at Marine Bases from coast to coast. Tanks of Charlie Co, 3d Tank Bn, firing on Combat Range #3 in the Fuji Maneuver Area, Japan, produced the unusual color transparency that furnished our cover this month.
The National Matches at Camp Perry, Reserves at summer camp firing the range and the regular run of Marines shooting for annual qualification--all striving to stay in the black. But for all the shooters' ills, the wart-fours and the "Maggie's drawers," there's only on panacea--hold 'em and squeeze 'em.
Although the Geneva Conference is now history, the defense of the Free World is still the paramount issue. Associated with this, therre are other problems which face us--the external threat of the rise of Russian sea power as one of the dominant factors in the alignment of world strength and, likewise, one of the greatest enigmas facing us internally--the allegiance of captured military personnel.
Through an interpretive design, TSgt D.W. Kiser compares the stalemate of positional trench warfare of WWI, the concentrated thrusts and pincer movements characteristic of the mechanized warfare in WWII and Liddell Hart's proposed concept (page 10-Oct. 1955, MCG) for the thermo-nuclear era--"an offensive fluidity of force." Today, with tactics in an evolutionary state, is the time for forward thinking and stimulating military thought. Those who have progressive ideas and encouraged to air their tactical concepts.
Back when battleships had basket masts the Marine in the field shouldered a Krag rifle and ate his meals from a condiment can. But even then, out of the experience that stemmed from the problems of defending advanced bases in the far-flung seaways, was born the amphibious doctrine that led to victory in WWII. The doctrine proved sound and the Corps had its raison d'etre. Today the planning and testing go on--the helicopter replacing the whaleboat and new tactics replacing the old.
In a little over three decades, Marine Air has progressed from using lumbering "Jennies," Fokkers and Ford Tri-Motor aircraft to speedy jet Furys, Panthers and Banshees. Back in the days when wooden "props" pulled wire-strutted "crates" over Nicaraguan jungles, air support for the infantryman was a haphazard, hedge-hopping affai. But the men who experimented with "skivvy" shirts for air panels and "clothes line" communications' pickups, set the pattern and doctrine that has given us the precision teamwork required for our integrated close-air support today.
This Month In History
22 May 1912: First Lieutenant Alfred A. Cunningham, the first Marine officer to be assigned to "duty in connection with aviation" by Major General Commandant William P. Biddle, reported for aviation training at the Naval Aviation Camp at Annapolis, Maryland, and Marine aviation had its official beginning.
In common with every new weapon introduced to the military service, Marine Corps aviation has travelled a rocky and uphill road. Its small size has tended to make the jolts more frequent and severe. Nothing short of the firm conviction that it would ultimately become of great service to the Corps sustained the enthusiasm of the small number of officers who have worked to make it a success. Read the full article.