Thursday, December 04, 2014

Bring it, Punks!

A cowardly group in the Middle East, using the tactic of terrorism to further their strategic aim of reestablishing an Islamic caliphate, has threatened to attack U.S. military members and veterans here in the homeland.  The FBI has responded by encouraging America's defenders to scrub their social media accounts of military mention.

Think about that for a minute.  

The greatest, most valorous, best trained, and most loyal military in the history of civilization is being told by their government to run and hide due to a dubious threat from a bunch of cowardly, amateur, warrior wannabes. 

The Colonel, who has skin thicker than the frontal armor on an M1A1 tank, takes great offense at that notion.

The Colonel is reminded of an early September day, thirteen years ago.  After he sat transfixed by the televised terror attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon for the better part of an unbelieving hour, the Colonel was jolted by the question from one of his subordinates, 

"Sir, what have we heard from higher headquarters?"  

It dawned, slower than sunup in late December (the Colonel ain't smart and you can't make him),  on the Colonel that the better question was: what had our subordinate commands heard from their higher headquarters?

The Colonel ordered a conference call with his subordinate commanders, ASAP.

Following an insane year heading up Current Operations for U.S. Forces, Korea, 2000 to 2001, the Colonel had leaped from the frying pan to the fire, taking command of the 6th Marine Corps District -- responsible for Marine Corps enlisted and officer recruiting in the Southeast in early July of 2001.  (Anyone who has ever served as a recruiter or commanded recruiters knows that it is the most intense job you'll ever have outside of combat.) The 6th MCD then had eight subordinate commands (Recruiting Stations) spread over Mississippi, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida.  Each of those commands (small battalions in their scope of responsibility and impact) was led by a major, each with upwards of 50 to 60 Marine NCOs spread over their territories in 2 and 3 man offices.  

When all of the Recruiting Station C.O.'s were on the line, the Colonel joined them and told them everything he knew at the time.  Wasn't much.  He still had heard nothing from higher headquarters.

The Colonel then asked for reports from the field.  The first major reported that his subordinate NCO's in charge of recruiting offices across his area of responsibility were reporting that the other services' recruiters (the majority of military recruiting offices are collocated) were being told by their higher headquarters to change into civilian clothes and go home.

The Colonel opined that some local commander must be over-reacting.  

Many of the rest of the majors quickly disabused him of that opinion.  It was happening all over.  The other services, in a greatly misplaced (in the Colonel's not-so humble opinion) sense of heightened "force protection" (a term that still sets the Colonel's teeth on edge), had sent their soldiers, airmen, and sailors running home when their nation most needed them visibly on the job.

The Colonel was dumbfounded and, for only one of a very few times in his career, speechless.  

One of the majors spoke up, "Colonel, I told my Marines to stay in uniform and stay very visible.  Should I have done different?"

That was the best military decision the Colonel had heard in the past couple of hours (if not his previous two decades + of service) and he told the major so.

"Gentlemen," the Colonel commanded, "stay in uniform and stay visible.  I'll be back in touch as soon as I hear anything from higher headquarters."  

It was a no-brainer command.  

The Colonel made a career out of 'em.

The Colonel is quite certain that the vast majority of U.S. soldiers, sailors, and airmen were disgusted at the order to get out of uniform and go home that day.

So, back to the present.

The Colonel is quite certain that the vast majority of U.S. soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines share his disgust with the suggestion by the FBI (in particular) and their government (in general) that they should hide from an enemy of their nation.

We will not hide.  

We will not cower.

We will not run.

Not from China; not from a resurgent Russia; not from a drug cartel; and certainly not from that passel of punks, ISIS.

Two words:


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