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Marines Roll Sleeves; Soldiers Roll Eyes

marines-roll-sleeves

The Commandant of the Marine Corps has reversed his own orders that Marines had to keep the sleeves of their combat utility uniform unrolled. The following is from the Jacksonville Daily News, not The Onion:

In reaction to an announcement made by Marine Gen. James Amos, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, Camp Lejeune Marines on Wednesday expressed elation, ambivalence and a sense of concern when discussing the reversal of an order preventing them from rolling the sleeves of their desert utilities — a uniform regulation approved by Amos in 2011.

Within the Marine Administrative Message published Tuesday by Headquarters Marine Corps, Amos states the transition will take effect on March 9 when the Corps transitions to summer uniforms. By rolling sleeves, Amos said in his letter to Marines, that doing so “clearly and visually sets us apart.”

[...]

Some Marines like Lance Cpl. Andrew West, 21, of Pawnee, Ill. have never rolled sleeves because they joined the Corps after the reversal took place.

West said he’d like to see the Corps focus more on the quality of gear provided rather than changing uniform regulations.

“I like my job and I like going into work every day, but I think we need to focus on the little stuff like gear and equipment issues,” said West, a Marine with 2nd Medical Battalion. “As an operator in motor transport, I feel like we need better tools and equipment. That’s something that needs to be addressed.”

Once news broke of the latest change West was amazed at how excited Marines got about rolling their sleeves, he said. Within his shop, he added that there are many Marines who rolled sleeves previously in their careers and that they are excited about the new order.

“Since I’ve been in the Marine Corps I have never been taught how to roll sleeves so I don’t know where to begin,” West said. “From what I hear it’s a little bit of a process to make them look good and look professional but I’m ready. We strive every day to look professional regardless of whether we are sleeves up or sleeves down so this shouldn’t be a problem.”

The move gives Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Potter, 31, of Hubert, the opportunity to mentor his Marines about the new uniform regulation and teach them the proper way to roll their sleeves — something he said he is “very excited” about.

“Teaching Marines how to roll sleeves isn’t going to be that big of a deal because it’s only going to take a few minutes to cover,” said Potter, an instructor at Marine Combat Training Battalion aboard Camp Geiger. “It’s all about mentoring your Marines and taking the time to educate them on changes in the Marine Corps. It’s what we should be doing as staff non-commissioned officers every day.”

As a former officer in the Army, a service that has been rolling the sleeves of its combat uniforms for decades without interruption, I find the whole thing rather comical. Most notably, the notion that figuring out how to roll up your sleeves is so difficult that it’s going to require substantial training from NCOs is just hilarious. After all, soldiers actually have to roll their sleeves such that the camouflage pattern is on the outside, which is slightly more challenging than simply rolling them up as Marines do.

For the uninitiated, here’s the process of rolling ones sleeves the Marine way:  Fold the cuff upwards. Repeat until sleeves are desired length.

how-to-roll-your-goddamn-sleeves

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He has a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. Rick Almeida says:

    The move gives Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Potter, 31, of Hubert, the opportunity to mentor his Marines about the new uniform regulation and teach them the proper way to roll their sleeves — something he said he is “very excited” about.

    Methinks SSG Potter needs a hobby.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 4

  2. James Joyner says:

    @Rick Almeida: Hah. No, that’s just how Marine NCOs are. I was really anal about my uniform but I was fairly unusual in the Army; that’s the norm in the Marine Corps.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  3. The following is from the Jacksonville Daily News, not The Onion

    Good ol’ Jacksonville, N.C.

    I feel sorry for my uncle (he works in Jacksonville, and lives a little ways out of it.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  4. Rafer Janders says:

    It’s nonsense like this that reinforces my belief that it’s time to just get rid of the Marine Corps and fold its functions back into the Army and Navy….

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 30

  5. James Joyner says:

    @Rafer Janders: We’ve had a Marine Corps since 1775.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 3

  6. stonetools says:

    If the Army and the Navy
    Ever look on Heaven’s scenes;
    They will find the streets are guarded
    By United States Marines.

    With rolled up sleeves, maybe.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 1

  7. DC Loser says:

    I hated that sleeve roll where the camo had to be on the outside and wished we just did it the way the Marines did.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  8. James Joyner says:

    @stonetools: Nah. Definitely dress blues for that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  9. Ron Beasley says:

    This is all a mystery to me. I am a veteran, 1968-1971, but was assigned to the DIA so I wore civilian clothes 95% of the time. We did have a dress code however.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  10. Boyd says:

    It’s hard for those who haven’t lived through the vicissitudes of changing (and unchanging) uniform regulations to fully appreciate how military folks react to these kinds of things. You should have heard the howls from the Chief community (Navy E-7 through E-9) when junior enlisted were given a khaki shirt to wear (khaki had previously been a color reserved for Chiefs and officers in the Navy).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  11. DC Loser says:

    @Ron Beasley – Were you at Arlington Hall when you worked at DIA?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  12. ernieyeball says:

    @Ron Beasley: Don’t remember seeing camouflage pattern on GI’s back then. Just solid drab. No pattern to show with sleeves rolled up?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  13. Rafer Janders says:

    @James Joyner:

    We’ve had a Marine Corps since 1775.

    So what?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 6

  14. Rafer Janders says:

    @James Joyner:

    Seriously, so what? We also used to have mounted cavalry, and wooden ships, and officers charging into battle at the head of their men waving a saber. We got rid of all of those, however, because they gradually became archaic. But with the Marine Corps, even though its function has grown archaic, we still hold onto it due to sentiment. But sentiment and tradition alone can’t justify the administrative cost and waste of maintaining a separate service arm that doesn’t really do anything that isn’t already being done by the Army and Navy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 9

  15. James Joyner says:

    @Boyd: Yes. Or the sturm and drang over General Shinseki making black berets, previously the province of Army Rangers, the common headgear for all soldiers.

    @DC Loser: Yeah. The rationale was that you could instantly pull it down to cover your arms. But we didn’t roll sleeves in the field, anyway, so it was sort of silly.

    @Rafer Janders: I’m just saying there’s no “fold its functions back into the Army and Navy” option; the Marine Corps has been with us from the beginning and has existed in something like its current incarnation since at least WWII.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

  16. Rafer Janders says:

    @James Joyner:

    We’ve had a Marine Corps since 1775.

    Back in 1775 naval ships also set sail for missions of months or years out of contact with their home ports and so often carried their own force of marines for ship-to-ship boarding or for ship-based assaults on enemy forts. The difficulty of travel and distances at the time necessitated a marine force. However, it’s now 2014, and we have planes and helicopters, we’re never out of contact with our naval forces, and we no longer do amphibious landings against enemy fire.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 4

  17. nitpicker says:

    @James Joyner: That’s true, James, but the fact the Marines were the first official service of our young country had a lot to do with the nature of blockades, ship-to-ship combat, etc., of the time. Recent history has made it quite obvious that Eisenhower’s fears the Marines would merely become a “second Army” have come to fruition and it’s worth contemplating the elimination of the Corps if, that is, you value the efficient use of taxpayer funds more than tradition.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 4

  18. Rafer Janders says:

    @James Joyner:

    I’m just saying there’s no “fold its functions back into the Army and Navy” option;

    Sure there is – its function over the last 70 years at least has been primarily ground-based combat infantry. We already have an Army that does that.

    the Marine Corps has been with us from the beginning and has existed in something like its current incarnation since at least WWII.

    Again, so what? Who cares? Time moves on, needs change. Back in WWI there were lots of soldiers who resisted getting rid of the horse cavalry because we’d always had horse cavalry, but it soon became quickly apparent that its time had passed. If the only real reason you can advance for keeping the Marine Corps as a separate service arm is that “we’ve always had a Marine Corps” then it’s pretty apparent that you can’t actually justify it as a separate service arm.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 6

  19. James Joyner says:

    @Rafer Janders: @nitpicker: If we had to have a single ground force, it would unquestionably be the Army. The Marine Corps is a luxury, but one we can afford.

    The advantage of USMC is the Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF). It’s basically a miniature joint force that brings air, ground, and sea power to bear quickly. It’s not set up for a sustained fight. For that, you need the Army. But the Army can’t do what the MAGTF does; it’s not built to do so.

    Could we create something like MAGTF within the Army? Sure. But I”m not sure what benefits are gained from doing that vice maintaining a specialist USMC.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 2

  20. Rafer Janders says:

    @nitpicker:

    if, that is, you value the efficient use of taxpayer funds more than tradition.

    Big “if”. Military men are often the most sentimental and least willing to listen to cost-benefit analyses of any professionals.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 3

  21. Rafer Janders says:

    @James Joyner:

    The Marine Corps is a luxury, but one we can afford.

    Universal Pre-K, adequately maintained infrastructure, free college education, fully-funded public service pensions, a high-speed rail network, criminal justice reform, arts and sports programs for public school children, universal health care, etc. etc. are all luxuries we cannot afford.

    But a Marine Corps? Sure, we can afford that particular luxury.

    We can always afford war toys for boys.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 3

  22. Rafer Janders says:

    @James Joyner:

    The advantage of USMC is the Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF). It’s basically a miniature joint force that brings air, ground, and sea power to bear quickly. It’s not set up for a sustained fight. For that, you need the Army. But the Army can’t do what the MAGTF does; it’s not built to do so. Could we create something like MAGTF within the Army? Sure.

    So basically the Marine Corps is a mini-Army, Navy and Air Force rolled into one. But this makes my argument for me, we already have an Army, Navy and Air Force and the Marines don’t do anything those services already provide. They’re purely duplicative.

    But I”m not sure what benefits are gained from doing that vice maintaining a specialist USMC.

    Efficience and long-term cost savings. A separate USMC wants its own uniforms and uniform regulations, its own separate equipment and training, its own admin support, etc. etc. It’s a waste of taxpayer dollars to duplicate what’s already being done elsewhere.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  23. Al says:

    In a follow up, General Amos said “I’m sure PFC West will get the support that he needs from his NCOs to make this uniform transition. Marines like Private West should feel free to reach out to their NCOs whenever situations like this arise.”

    Amos noted that Marine Recruit West should expect to be stationed at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base once he graduates from boot camp in 2016.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  24. Rafer Janders says:

    @James Joyner:

    The advantage of USMC is the Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF). It’s basically a miniature joint force that brings air, ground, and sea power to bear quickly. It’s not set up for a sustained fight. For that, you need the Army. But the Army can’t do what the MAGTF does; it’s not built to do so.

    James, you also know that over the last dozen years most Marines in active combat have been serving mainly as ground-based combat infantry in the sustained fight of Iraq and Afghanistan. We’re not actually been utilizing them as a MAGTF.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  25. nitpicker says:

    @Rafer Janders: Trust me, Rafer. I get that. I’ve served in two services and was myself incensed when the Navy switched to khakis and got rid of the bell-bottomed dungaree pants. Those changes didn’t create a huge extra cost, however.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  26. nitpicker says:

    @James Joyner: Under the more unified joint concept, a MAGTF seems kind of pointless, in my mind.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  27. Ron Beasley says:

    @DC Loser: In Munich for most of my time and stayed in Munich as an actual DIA civilian employee for a few years after. I left the DIA when they wanted to reassign me to DC.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  28. As a former officer in the Army, a service that has been rolling the sleeves of its combat uniforms for decades without interruption, I find the whole thing rather comical. Most notably, the notion that figuring out how to roll up your sleeves is so difficult that it’s going to require substantial training from NCOs is just hilarious.

    There’s three ways to do everything: the right way, the wrong way, and the Navy way.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  29. John425 says:

    @Rafer Janders: Marines are trained to be our “shock troops”. First in, last out. It is a small and specialized land and sea force.

    Anybody who has learned about war knows how vital they are. Joyner just didn’t want to rub your nose into your ignorance.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 11

  30. Bennett says:

    I remember rolling our sleeves so tight we had to have help taking our blouses off. It was a weird pride thing. Then there was what were called”gunny rolls”. Basically senior enlisted stopped giving a damn a did the worst rolls ever. Basically just pushed them up the arms. Also, at least during my service you only rolled sleeves on desert camie, which were only worn during the warm months. Woodlands in the other months were sleeves down.

    Also, as far as I know, the army doesn’t rolls sleeves anymore.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  31. Rafer Janders says:

    @John425:

    Marines are trained to be our “shock troops”. First in, last out. It is a small and specialized land and sea force.

    (a) There’s nothing particular about Marines as so-called shock troops that requires maintaining them as an entire separate service arm. We also have “shock troops” in the Navy (ex. the SEALS) and Army (ex. Airborne, Stryker Brigades, Special Forces, etc.), and increasingly our shock troops will be drones. If we want or need shock troops, the Army can handle that function.

    (b) They haven’t been first in, last out in any major war that I know of. The Army and Navy were in combat from day one of WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf War, Afghanistan and Iraq.

    (c ) They haven’t been a sea force since the 19th century. Most of their major combat operations since at least WWI have been as ground combat infantry, which is what the Army already specializes in. We don’t need a second Army.

    Anybody who has learned about war knows how vital they are.

    Nope, not vital, except in their own minds. Anything the Marines can do is either already being done or can be done by the Army, Navy and Air Force.

    Joyner just didn’t want to rub your nose into your ignorance.

    I appreciate his restraint.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 2

  32. Scott says:

    It’s basically a miniature joint force that brings air, ground, and sea power to bear quickly

    Now here’s an idea. Since we have been beating the Jointness drum for decades without breaking through all the parochialism, how about tackling the problem from the other direction? Let’s greatly expand the Marines and do away with the Army, Navy, and AF. Voila! Jointness achieved.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 1

  33. Rafer Janders says:

    @John425:

    Anybody who has learned about war knows how vital they are.

    The entire European campaign against Nazi Germany, including the amphibious landings in French Morocco, Sicily, Salerno, Anzio and Normandy, was fought by the Army without the Marine Corps. If we could handle the Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS without them, then I don’t think they’re actually that vital.

    (On the other hand, the Marines couldn’t do the Pacific campaign against Japan on their own, but relied on the Army to handle Burma, China and the Philippines, and to pitch in in New Guinea, Guadalacanal, the Solomons and Okinawa).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  34. JohnMcC says:

    Apologizing in advance for a bit of ‘thread drift’…. When did it become acceptable to wear fatigues/BDU/combat-wear out in public.? Back when dinosaurs roamed and I was in the service, you could get into trouble doing that. Not that I give a flip, but I’ve wondered about it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  35. @JohnMcC:

    IIRC, it’s a post-9/11 “we’re all at war” thing so that the people stationed stateside could pretend they’re in just as much danger as the people on the front lines in Afghanistan and Iraq:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/19/us/politics/19pentagon.html?_r=0

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  36. John D'Geek says:

    @James Joyner: Marines and chopper pilots. They’re that way about everything …

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  37. Davebo says:

    @Boyd:

    I remember the elimination of beards in the Navy. Odd to come to work one morning and not recognize about a third of your fellow sailors.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  38. Scott says:

    @JohnMcC: In the Air Force, somewhere around the 1st Gulf War. We flipped from wearing blues except for Fridays to wearing BDUs most days and blues on Fridays.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  39. stonetools says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    Well, I hear you, Rafe. But let’s face it, you’re going up against history, tradition, and propoganda. You’re going up against “We’re looking for a few good men”, “Come on, you bastards, do you want to live for ever” and “The enemy is in front of us, on both sides of us, and behind us. There’s no way they can escape us now!”. You’re going up against the ghosts of the “old breed’ who prevailed at Gaudalcanal and Tarawa.
    Your puny logic, arithmetic and evidence stand no chance against all that. Keep trying, though.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  40. Rafer Janders says:

    @John425:

    Anybody who has learned about war knows how vital they are.

    Name me one major engagement of the last 70 years the Marines have been in that could not also have been accomplished by a similarly-sized and equipped group of soldiers such as the Rangers, the 10th Mountain, the 101st Airborne, etc.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

  41. john personna says:

    @stonetools:

    Or reverse it next time, and say “keep navy/marines, drop army/air-corps”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  42. stonetools says:

    @john personna:

    THere is at least a possible argument where you could fold the land-based missile and satellite systems into a “US Strategic Command” and the rest of the USAF back into the Army.
    Fun argument against constiutional “originalists and “emunrated powers only” enthusiasts : the words” Air Force” and ” Marine Corps” appear nowhere in the US Constiution, so any funding of an independent ” Air Foce” and “Marine Corps” ” is unconstiutional.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  43. Boyd says:

    @Davebo: I left on a deployment to fly in A-3s off of a couple of aircraft carriers in SEP 84, so I had to shave my beard for that (to wear the mask while flying). While I was deployed, CNO eliminated beards effective 1 JAN 85, and mine was already gone. Much sad!

    @stonetools: That’s the part that Rafer is missing. There’s value in traditions, and the benefit of doing away with those traditions has never been considered sufficient to overcome the cost. One can argue against the idea, of course, but it’s not quantifiable so there’ll never be a “logical” way to decide.

    So long as we follow the Star Trek model and use the Navy to explore the universe, I’m happy with whatever structure is used. I’m playing the long game here. :-)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  44. Boyd says:

    @stonetools:

    …so any funding of an independent ” Air Foce” and “Marine Corps” ” is unconstiutional.

    Oh, and I forgot I was going to address this, too. I think the appropriate term here would be “extra-constitutional.” I don’t believe the Constitution prohibits the formation of a Marine Corps or Air Force, especially since the Marine Corps pre-dates the Constitution.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  45. Peterh says:

    being a four year Navy diver Vet (`70-`74)…my typical uniform, while in Coronado, was a pair of khaki swim trucks…..I suppose even the riff raff should be given their due (rolled sleeves) while in the sun…. :)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  46. stonetools says:

    @Boyd:

    So long as we follow the Star Trek model and use the Navy to explore the universe, I’m happy with whatever structure is used. I’m playing the long game here. :-)

    Yeah, I imagine the arguments for appropraiations for theUS Starfleet Command are going to be pretty interesting.
    Does the “Interstate commerce” power extend to outer space? How far onto outer space?

    Was funding a space force envisaged by the wise and all seeing founding fathers?

    Wish I could be there for the debates.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  47. rudderpedals says:

    @stonetools: To meet originalist constitutional muster one must only be talking about a Navy for space transit and area denial, and an Army to put boots on firm alien soil. Everything else is baaaaaad

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  48. Boyd says:

    @White: Pretty bold accusation. I doubt many here will believe you’re telling the truth.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  49. wr says:

    @Stormy Dragon: “There’s three ways to do everything: the right way, the wrong way, and the Navy way.”

    Which brings to mind the time Homer Simpson legally changed his name to Max Power:

    Homer: There are three ways of doing things: The right way, the wrong way and the Max Power way.
    Bart: Isn’t that the wrong way?
    Homer: Yes, but faster!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  50. Grewgills says:

    @White:
    I think I lost a couple of IQ points reading that comment.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  51. PJ says:

    So, comments do get deleted sometimes…?

    I guess I would have wanted to read whatever White wrote, so that I would have had something to measure other comments with.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  52. sam says:

    @JJ

    ” I was really anal about my uniform but I was fairly unusual in the Army; that’s the norm in the Marine Corps.”

    True dat. Look at this Marine utility cap, new style. Notice the neatly sewn hexagonal crown. Now, look at this one, old-style (when I was in). It’s a little salty, but notice the lack of the squared away shape. We spent hours starching and ironing those covers to achieve that sharp hexagonal style. Apparently, somebody at Headquarters Marine Corps finally got the message. And then there was the “sea-going dip” in the dress cover. Had to be careful with that, too much, and you got written up.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  53. Boyd says:

    @Wite: So, you turn up out of nowhere, write comments so offensive to James that he deleted them, which is counter to the way he had operated this blog over the past decade, and yet he’s too stupid to delete your comments accusing him of doing so.

    The last time I expressed my opinion that what you said wasn’t the truth. I’ll go all the way to calling you a liar. In fact, a stupid liar, since your accusations defy logic, experience and what we know of James’s character.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  54. Boyd says:

    Okay, I’ll stop feeding the troll. My bad.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  55. Rafer Janders says:

    @Boyd:

    That’s the part that Rafer is missing. There’s value in traditions, and the benefit of doing away with those traditions has never been considered sufficient to overcome the cost. One can argue against the idea, of course, but it’s not quantifiable so there’ll never be a “logical” way to decide.

    Oh no, I get that. I get that the value of the Marine Corps these days is primarily tradition, not utility. That it exists largely as the Renaissance Faire of the US military, still alive because it makes old men and little boys misty-eyed, not because it has any real use.

    What bugs me, however, is that so few will admit that they want to have a Marine Corps due to emotion and nostalgia. That when it comes to the USMC, suddenly it’s something not quantifiable, something we just have to do because it’s what we have to do — but when it comes to food stamps for the hungry, or education for children, or health care for the sick, suddenly everything is quantifiable, it’s all dollars and cents. The very same people who will argue that we have to have the Marines, cost be damned, will count every penny that goes to helping people who actually need it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  56. Rafer Janders says:

    @James Joyner:

    But the Army can’t do what the MAGTF does; it’s not built to do so.

    The Army can’t conduct combined operations with the Navy and Air Force?That’s a…surprise, given the past twelve years of warfare in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  57. Boyd says:

    @Rafer Janders: You’ve got it exactly 180° backwards, Rafer. You’re wrong, IMHO, when you say “the value of the Marine Corps these days is primarily tradition,” and that’s certainly not what I said. I said that tradition is valuable to the Marine Corps, meaning that they gain a benefit from tradition that the Army wouldn’t have if they were to take over Marine Corps tasks. The question is if the efficiency of consolidation overcomes the value of tradition. So far, the judgment of those who make such decisions is no, it wouldn’t.

    Not that it matters to anyone but me, but I agree, it doesn’t.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  58. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @JohnMcC: It apparently still isn’t in Korea. When I still had AFN Korea on my cable system (no, I don’t know why a commercial Korean cable company carried AFN, but I do miss it) there were constant reminders to soldiers wear only civilian clothes off base. Still the same when I go to Itaewon (Youngsan Garrison area) on Sundays.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  59. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @john personna: Yeah, but if you go that way, that will mean that all the “cannon fodder” will need to be in the Marines and they will no longer be that “elite” fighting force noted for being “the few” and “the proud.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  60. James Joyner says:

    @PJ: His initial comment got flagged by the software because of vulgar language and I left it deleted because it was trollish besides and he was an unfamiliar commenter. Then he started trolling wr on another thread, so I just sent all his stuff to the spam queue.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  61. Rafer Janders says:

    From “Never Faithful, the Rivalry Between Our Army and Marines” by A. Scott Piriano:

    President Harry Truman once stated that Marines; “Have a propaganda machine that is almost equal to Stalin’s.” The Marines have always advertised themselves, but in Truman’s day, they at least had something to sell. The original raison d’etre of the USMC was their ability to carry out amphibious landings on hostile beaches.

    The truth is, the US Army conducted the biggest amphibious assault in our nation’s history when they captured the Normandy beaches. And neither the Army or the Marines have assaulted an enemy held beach since the Korean war, over fifty years ago. In every subsequent conflict Soldiers and Marines have fought in the same way, using similar equipment and tactics.

    The Marines are in fact a second Army, and since they compete with the Army for funds, missions, and prestige, their real enemy is… the US Army.

    http://thepopulist.wordpress.com/never-faithful-the-rivalry-between-our-army-and-marines/

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  62. Rafer Janders says:

    In fact the Marine Corps was nearly legislated out of existence two years later. After the bureaucratic infighting that characterized inter-service relations during WW II, there was a strong desire among military professionals to unify the military commands. President Truman agreed, and in 1946 his administration proposed a bill to unify the separate service bureaucracies.

    Having one budgetary authority for the Armed Forces, and one chain of command each for land forces, ships, and aircraft makes sense. But this would have placed the US Navy at a distinct disadvantage. The Navy had their own air wings aboard their carriers, and their own army, the Marine Corps.

    The Navy and Marine Corps were determined to scuttle this legislation. Marine generals created a secret office code named the Chowder Society to lobby behind the scenes, (in opposition to their President and Commander in Chief), and thwart the unification bill before Congress. The Commandant of the Marine Corps even made an impassioned speech before Congress to plead for his separate service.

    It worked. Congress rejected the Truman administration’s unification bill, and instead passed the National Security Act of 1947. This Act guaranteed separate services, with their own independent budgets, and was a victory for the Navy and Marine Corps.

    In addition, the Marines succeeded in having their separate force structure written into the language of the legislation. It is very unusual for Congress to dictate the actual composition of a military service. Yet the National Security Act mandates that the Marines Corps must maintain “not less than three combat divisions and three aircraft wings and such land combat, aviation, and other services as necessary to support them“.

    President Truman was furious, and military professionals were appalled. General Eisenhower characterized the Marines as “being so unsure of their value to their country that they insisted on writing into the law a complete set of rules and specifications for their future operations and duties. Such freezing of detail…is silly, even vicious.”

    http://thepopulist.wordpress.com/never-faithful-the-rivalry-between-our-army-and-marines/

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  63. Ryan says:

    If you’re going to get rid of the Corps, you better fix the way the Army trains. Disgusting!

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  64. Hal Bachman says:

    @Rafer Janders: @nitpicker:

    The Marine Corps exists for one reason: America loves her Marines. For a reference read the book “First to Fight.” The Corps doesn’t have an official mission other than to kick butt when asked to. We have done this for over 200 years so this is why the Corps still exists. When I was a first sergeant I used to impress this upon my Marines. As soon as the Marines lower their standard then the Corps will cease to exist. But we have risen to the occasion when given really ugly missions so there will always be a need. Some people hate us and some people love us (all documented in the book above) but we get the job done when it really counts.

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  65. David says:

    @Rafer. The Marine Corps is not a separate branch of service. They are a department of the Navy. As for the argument that other services could do the same mission with the same equipment and training, well no kidding. That agreement can be made about anything. Why not dissolve all branches and form one? We can give the air force back to the army, give them boats, and tell them to create a AAGTF. Put them on boats and make an AEU(SOC). Because the Army does everything better than anyone. Truth is, the Marine Corps primary mission is to be a force in readiness. We can mobilize the Marines faster than the Army. Because of it’s small size, the MAGTF, and the MEU’s. The rangers, SEAL, and SF are not enough to take and hold a position. That’s why we have Marines. Then the Army comes in and builds around the position. Most countries have Marines. They are the Navy’s ground troops, not a second Army.

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