Secretary of Defense Robert Gates announced that he would be replacing Joint Chiefs Chairman Peter Pace in an unexpected news conference Friday afternoon.
Gates is puttin' in a swab jockey to replace him. Good. I'm tired of my Marine Corps being ridiculed because of Pete "Puppydog" Pace.
As I see it, there's basically two kinds of Marines: the Chesty Puller kind and the Ollie North kind.
Chesty Puller (1898-1971) was a fighting man, the most decorated Marine in the Corps' history. He fought his country's battles in Nicaragua, Guadalcanal, New Britain, Peleliu, and at the Chosin Reservoir in Korea. He earned five Navy Crosses and a Distinguished Service Cross, awards second only to the Medal of Honor. He enlisted as a Private in 1918 and retired as a Lieutenant General in 1955. In 1966 he requested reinstatement so he could go fight in Vietnam (his request was denied). He has been an inspiration to generations of Marines. To this day, Marine recruits lie at attention in their racks at taps and intone loudly and in unison, "Goodnight Chesty, wherever you are!"
Now that's a Marine!
By contrast, the first line in Oliver North's Wikipedia entry is "...most well known for his involvement in the Iran-Contra Affair". As a junior officer, he fought in Vietnam, but served the rest of his career as a staff weenie on the road to flag rank and a galaxy of stars on his shoulders. Luckily, his career path was brought up short at the field grade level of LtCol when he got caught committing crimes of a high magnitude in the service of president Reagan. He now has a TV show, "War Stories", on Fox Noise, and it's the only thing I watch on that channel. Everything else is V-chipped so as not to insult my TV set.
Marine recruits do not shout "Nighty-night, Ollie! Another fine mess you've gotten us into!". Maybe they should.
One is a fighting Marine, the other a political one, in my estimation hardly worthy of "claiming the title" of United States Marine.
I was glad at first to see General Pace rise to become the first Marine to be Chairman of the JCS. He too served in Vietnam as a junior officer, and commanded infantry and aviation outfits to get his ticket punched for ascendance to flag rank. So far, so good, but he had a chance to be a real Marine and speak truth to power. He chose instead to be a yes-manwhore and kowtow to evil masters in the White House. His 'sense of duty' was wildly misplaced. I don't know why nor do I care. I lost all respect for him some time into his chairmanship, and I'm glad he's leaving.