The entire Corps, all 170,000 or so on the active rolls, plus the reserves, are all infantry.All speak the language of the rifle and bayonet, of muddy boots and long, hot marches. That is the secret of the Corps.” “If Army infantry amounts to a stern monastic order standing apart, on the edge of the wider secular soldier world, Marine infantry more resembles the central totem worshipped by the entire tribe.
Asking the question that misses the most fundamental point about the United States Marine Corps.
In the Marines, everyone–sergeant, mechanic, cannoneer, supply man, clerk, aviator, cook–is a rifleman first.
Marines have specialized, as have all modern military organizations.
And despite the all-too-real rigors of boot camp, annual rifle qualification, and high physical standards, a Marine aircraft crew chief or radio repairman wouldn’t make a good 0311 on a squad assault.
That connections creates a great strength throughout the Corps.” “It explains why Marine commanders routinely, even casually, combine widely disparate kinds of capabilities into small units….
Marines send junior officers and NCOs out from their line rifle companies and expect results. He is expected to take charge, to improvise, to adapt, to overcome. Not if we can help it.” “Anyone who has watched an amphibious landing unfold would be careful with that kind of thinking.Soldiers have defined military occupational specialties and guard their prerogatives like a union shop stewards. They get them, too.” “Even a single Marine has on call the firepower of the air wing, the Navy, and all of the United States. A Marine gets by with ancient aircraft (the ratty C-46E Frog, for example), hand-me-down weapons (such as the old M-60 tanks used in the Gulf War), and whatever else he can bum off the Army or cajole out of the Navy. Now and again, the Marines want to send men, not bullets.” “This leads to a self-assurance that sometimes comes across as disregard for detailed staff-college quality planning and short shrift for high-level supervision. The Marines actually have a lot in common with their elite Army infantry brothers, if not with all the various Army headquarters and service echelons. But so do those of the airborne, the air assault, the light-fighters, and the Rangers, for the same good reason: Hard, realistic training teaches soldiers how to fight by doing, over and over, so they need not keep writing about it, regurgitating basics every time. A three-inch thick order, a big CP, and lots of meeting do not victory make.Marines get the job done regardless, because they are Marines. Senior Army officers in particular sometimes find the Marines amateurish, cavalier, and overly trusting in just wading in and letting the junior leaders sort it out. The Marines consciously reject all that.” “A Corps infused with a rifleman ethos has few barriers to intra-service cooperation.But those Marine technical types know that they serve the humble grunt, the man who will look the enemy in the eye within close to belly-ripping range.Moreover, all Marines think of themselves as grunts at heart, just a bit out of practice at the moment.