First of all, I will wish all fellow Marines here a most happy 229th! A toast to all those who serve and prayers to those in Iraq--especially in Falluja right now.
Are there some who truly take the Oath of Office with visions of honor, valor, and glory on the battlefield? Absolutely. If not, schools like VMI, the Academies, and Citadel would be empty. Many of these individuals have the warrior ethos; they tend to be mult-generationed military. Some go on to be fine professional warriors, others do not.
On the other end of the spectrum are the young, misguided baggers of the Piggly Wigglies. Looking for direction in life...looking for a steady check. True. Dying gloriously on the battlefield is far from their minds.
BN747 makes some valid points, and he has served and done his time. I respect him for that.
PacificJourney also points some issues out...winnow through one or two, and they too are valid.
However, BN747 and PacificJourney clearly speak from the viewpoint of those who have never been shot at in anger.
Make no mistake about it, the young Marine under fire will
know how to react. The twenty-year old, brand-new squad leader, who saved the TACP's life in the First Gulf War, it so happened, was trying to do everything he could to get ahead and feed his family back home in El Paso, including his parents. Life was a dead-end for him. That "loser" seeking self affirmation through the Marine Corps earned a Bronze Star (the Corps does not give out medals like candy) and is now an FBI agent in the southwest.
PacificJourney and BN747....have you ever heard of Brian Chontosh? Probably not. Maybe because he was one of those college graduates with a C average that couldn't cut it in corporate America. He wanted to jump into easy street and have a sub-class of Marines below him for ego gratification. Yeah, my ass.
Brian Chontosh is just your typical kid out of Churchville. A Rochester Institute of Technology Graduate.
Brian Chontosh is a Captain of Marines.
It was over a year ago on the march into Baghdad. Brian Chontosh was a platoon leader rolling up Highway 1 in a HMMWV.
All hell broke loose when Lt Chotosh's platoon was ambushed.
His young Marines were being cut to ribbons. Mortars, machine guns, rocket propelled grenades. And the kid out of Churchville was in charge. It was do or die and it was up to him.
So he moved to the side of his column, looking for a way to lead his men to safety. As he tried to poke a hole through the Iraqi line his humvee came under direct enemy machine gun fire.
It was fish in a barrel and the Marines were the fish.
And Brian Chontosh gave the order to attack. He told his driver to floor the humvee directly at the machine gun emplacement that was firing at them. And he had the guy on top with the .50 cal unload on them.
Within moments there were Iraqis slumped across the machine gun and Chontosh was still advancing, ordering his driver now to take the humvee directly into the Iraqi trench that was attacking his Marines. Over into the battlement the humvee went and out the door Brian Chontosh bailed, carrying an M16 and a Beretta and 228 years of Marine Corps pride.
And he ran down the trench.
With its mortars and riflemen, machineguns and grenadiers.
And he killed them all.
He fought with the M16 until it was out of ammo. Then he fought with the Beretta until it was out of ammo. Then he picked up a dead man's AK47 and fought with that until it was out of ammo. Then he picked up another dead man's AK47 and fought with that until it was out of ammo.
At one point he even fired a discarded Iraqi RPG into an enemy cluster, sending attackers flying with its grenade explosion.
When he was done Brian Chontosh had cleared 200 yards of entrenched Iraqis from his platoon's flank. He had killed more than 20 and wounded at least as many more.
But that's probably not how he would tell it.
He would probably merely say that his Marines were in trouble, and he got them out of trouble. Hoo-ah, and drive on.
"By his outstanding display of decisive leadership, unlimited courage in the face of heavy enemy fire, and utmost devotion to duty, 1st Lt. Chontosh reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service."
That's what the citation says. Unfortunately people like PacificJourney and BN
will never, ever understand it. It's horse-crap to them.