We Still Have the Marine Corps…for now

Today is the 238th birthday of the United States Marine Corps.

Did Google go all out in celebration? Uhhh, no. But give them a break, bless their little Marxist hearts: they did celebrate Panama Independence Day earlier this month. So we know they’re not against nation-states, per se, just the one that was wealthy enough and entrepreneur-friendly enough to give Google life and possibility.

It is a steep learning curve, the paying off of crony politicians but they got it faster than Microsoft ever did. Witness the lack of anti-trust lawsuits of the kind that plagued Bill Gates; you can bet your bippy Google took lessons from that expensive ignorance. I hear they’re busy building their own navy so perhaps a little BHO birdie told ‘em something. The rest of us are busy too – guessing at the motives behind Obama’s determined effort to deep-six America’s military; all we know is the outcome does not bode well for either the military or for civilians. For now the flexing of Google’s military might takes the form of barges but even gianto Google accepts the fact that you have to start somewhere. Besides, best not to alarm us frogs in the pot.

Yesterday a reader sent a link to one of my favorite poems. An anti-war work, purportedly, though some say it’s really about sex, so who knows? In the end, it’s all about sex, innit?

This is my contribution to the USMC’s annual celebration, which is beginning to be not so much celebratory as bittersweet and looking backward at old glories. Tripoli is a bigger mess than ever and the halls of Montezuma are overrun with drug lords, much as parts of Luton are.

“The Naming of Parts” was written by a middling Brit poet during World War II. It’s part of a set, but this is the only one which ever sees the light of day very often because it’s the only one that even remotely participates in the light of being. The rest are too heavy-handed, though they have good moments.

For years I thought “The Naming of Parts” was a poem from, as the author says, “that 1914-18 thing”. Turns out he served in both, the second time around as a translator of Japanese. Perhaps it is born of his memories (shame) about his time as a POW during the First? Oh, wait – I forgot, it’s really about sex. Here you can see it in situ as it appeared in The New Statesman in 1942.

But before we get to the poem, let’s have a look at a real gun — oops, Marine Corps Drill sergeants Instructors have been known to make recruits carry their “guns” in their hands, trousers undone, for the sin of calling their rifle a “gun”. Every vocation has mortal offenses and for jarheads, that is one.

So here’s a real gun rifle, the much maligned AR-15.

This is not a USMC infantryman’s issue. That honor goes to a German gun, the H&K M27 AIR, which you see demonstrated here. The comments are worth perusing to get a feel for how much this German company is despised by American civilian gun owners. Anyone who reads gun forums understands the reasons they have for hating H&K. It has mostly to do with the perceived hubris and lack of genuine customer service for non-military customers. Somehow, I don’t see the two – “German-made” and “customer service” – connecting in any Venn diagram. But that’s me.

What is an AR 15, you ask? Here’s the man to tell you. Watch this for sexual references, of course:

Below the fold is the poem. I believe it was written for the Lee-Enfield since that was the standard issue British rifle from 1895 to 1957.

The setting is a country garden, which makes this the ideal anti-gun poem. Beauty and death, see? All those the killers with guns. (When you’re a thoroughly indoctrinated gun-hater, who knows from rifles or powder horns?)

Naming of Parts

To-day we have naming of parts. Yesterday,
We had daily cleaning. And to-morrow morning,
We shall have what to do after firing. But to-day,
To-day we have naming of parts. Japonica
Glistens like coral in all of the neighboring gardens,
And to-day we have naming of parts.

This is the lower sling swivel. And this
Is the upper sling swivel, whose use you will see,
When you are given your slings. And this is the piling swivel,
Which in your case you have not got. The branches
Hold in the gardens their silent, eloquent gestures,
Which in our case we have not got.

This is the safety-catch, which is always released
With an easy flick of the thumb. And please do not let me
See anyone using his finger. You can do it quite easy
If you have any strength in your thumb. The blossoms
Are fragile and motionless, never letting anyone see
Any of them using their finger.

And this you can see is the bolt. The purpose of this
Is to open the breech, as you see. We can slide it
Rapidly backwards and forwards: we call this
Easing the spring. And rapidly backwards and forwards
The early bees are assaulting and fumbling the flowers:
They call it easing the Spring.

They call it easing the Spring: it is perfectly easy
If you have any strength in your thumb: like the bolt,
And the breech, and the cocking-piece, and the point of balance,
Which in our case we have not got; and the almond-blossom
Silent in all of the gardens and the bees going backwards and forwards,
For to-day we have naming of parts.

For the usual socialist reasons, there are lots of study guides and analyses on line for Henry Reed’s poem.

11 thoughts on “We Still Have the Marine Corps…for now

  1. Do WE have the Marine Corps? The Marine Corps that trains jihadis in Saudi Arabia for deployment in Syria? That has a mosque in Quantico? That prattles about female Marines-in-combat? That marries homos in full ceremony? That recruits Mexican gangbangers so that they deploy what they learn as Marines on the streets of L.A.? That has a metrosexual communist America-hating Muslim fellow traveller as its Commander-in-Chief?

    The Marine Corps whose commander is under investigation for having pressed for severe penalties for Marine grunts who dispatched some Talibs toward a rendez-vous with the virgins?

    The Semper Fi Marine veterans I know are like the the patriotic Americans I know. They all hold onto and revere the space where the carpet once was, seemingly blind to the obvious reality that the carpet has been pulled away from under their very feet. But who is actually doing something to retrieve the carpet from its snatchers?

    • That’s the reason for my provisional title: “for now”…

      It is not the Marine Corps of old, the one that existed, say, during the universal draft and attracted young men who didn’t want to end up in the Army and were prepared to tough it out to get something better. Back then, the Marines had more Eagle Scouts entering than any other branch of the service.

      Agreed re the Semper Fi vets. It’s a top-down problem, one that Col. John Boyd (USAF) addressed when he sneered at “The Building” – i.e., the Pentagon. He said that at some point in an officer’s life, as he progressed up the ladder, where he would have to choose to “be somebody” or to “DO something”.

      The former focused on the arts of kissing enough gluteus maximus on the rungs immediately above him and thus began his training – not strictly military as one had to know which fork to to use and how to leave his napkin on arising from the table.

      The latter went a number of different ways, including what Boyd did with his briefings. Those grew from what he did while still inside, and the more rambunctious performances he gave once he had resigned his commission. His own branch of the service ignored his brilliant theories re strategic manuvers in any given battle space. The Marine Corps was sold on his work, though, and began teaching it…


      His life is fascinating. Unfortunately, his children suffered from his less-than-benign neglect; their old man was too strange to be a pater familias. I often wonder what happened to his kids. Probably any of their friends have long learned never to say “Ooda Loop” within their hearing.

      Anyone who wants to understand the way forward can find a path via reading the volumes of Boyd-influenced work.

      Here’s a blog entry from 2007, discussing one man’s applications of Boyd’s theories to the business world:


      and he released a book last year that looks intriguing, with over 500 five-star reviews:

      The 48 Laws of Power

      So, yeah, right now is grim. And if you know USMC history, you know it’s not the first low period. But…change ain’t linear or very predictable…

      Let not your heart be troubled about the present deviancy downwards. It won’t last. There will be a brand-spanking new carpet. Watch that space.


  2. I’ve been following Boyd’s ideas for years. In a way Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals was an application of the OODA loop to “change.” My beef with the Right is that they never paid attention: they have not even “observed,” let alone proceeded to the other stages.
    More to come soon.

    I have a different favorite from the history of the Marine Corps: General Smedley Butler. The one who spoke out so long ago so much against “war-as-business,” i.e. the very “nation-building” racket we have now, with all those Haliburtons and private contractors getting their wheels greased, with impossibly expensive weapons systems and insufficient training for the soldiers etc.

    • Re the Right: it has folded the tent and gone home. The RNC and national GOP orgs are worse than useless. If conservatives present candidates, they can’t get funding. As happened here in VA. An Obama bundler staked that clueless Libertarian to his run at the governor’s office and, as always, they siphoned off 17% of the vote. With Ross Perot, it was 19%. Same result.

      The RNC wants to kill off the Tea Party and any other populist movement. Until the TP gets some serious funding, we’re going to be stuck with corrupt bagmen like McAwful, who will run up our taxes to work in ObamaCare – i.e., more ppl entitled to Medicaid, not real insurance.

      The GOP candidate didn’t have one thin dime for media ads the last fortnight or so. Not a penny from the RNC or the Chamber of Commerce. That and the 17% Lib Clueless vote sewed it up for BHO’s boy. VA is toast.


  3. Not to be a stickler, but since I am a Marine Vet, we Marines have Drill Instructors, not Drill sergeants, that is the army (Ain’t Ready to Be Marine Yet) that has those.
    On another note, there is a serious clash going on inside the Marine Corps right now and it is getting extremely nasty, and as much as I hate to say this, it is looking like the REMF’s are winning, God save My Marine Corps.

    • Oh my! I really did say that. I know well what a DI is…knew some at one time.

      I’m a optimist. While evil reigns at the moment, it won’t remain on top. And when the wheel turns, some of you Old Guys will be there to pick up the slack, to carry the story forward.

      Indeed God will do just that. The USMC template is the best one for the coming melt-down and can be reassembled w/o the detritus.

      • No worries, it happens to the best of us, and watch who you are calling old will you? 😉 As my good grandfather used to say up until he died at 100, your not old until your dead and buried.
        I myself am the glass is half full type and since I do work overseas as one of those contractors, I see this exploding in our western countries soon enough, and since I do know and understand human nature, this is not going to end well for anybody.

    • It’s gonna end like the Legions ended.

      Although I’d guess there is regimental link to a Toman unit.

  4. Not just the US military, either. A British soldier has recently been sentenced to life in jail for killing a Taliban insurgent on the field of battle. The case should never have been brought to court at all; the “man” concerned was an armed terrorist captured in battle. Enemy belligerent out of uniform and a traitor to his own country to boot; the Geneva Convention does not apply.

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