Small Wars Journal

It’s Anchors Aweigh for Tomorrow’s Marines

Thu, 04/09/2020 - 9:47am

It’s Anchors Aweigh for Tomorrow’s Marines by George F. Will – Washington Post

Whatever the origins of the World War I Army captain’s animus against the Marine Corps, his hostility was unimportant until he became commander in chief. Then Harry Truman wanted to abolish the corps, which he dismissed as “the Navy’s police force.” This was a few years after Marines, operating with the Navy, had distinguished themselves in World War II’s Pacific theater, from Guadalcanal to Okinawa. And shortly before Marines landed at Inchon in September 1950, reversing the tide of the Korean War.

Feb. 23 was the 75th anniversary of World War II’s most famous photograph, of Marines planting the Stars and Stripes on Iwo Jima’s Mount Suribachi. It is, in a sense, a picture of the corps’ future, as the current commandant envisions it.

When nature designed David H. Berger, it had a Marine in mind. From his shaved head to his shined shoes, he looks like the business end of a battering ram, which he is: The Marines’ 38th commandant aims to demolish decades of thinking about the corps’ function. He wants it configured not for lengthy ground wars (Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan) but for forward-deployed capabilities in the Pacific region in support of the fleet. This, an echo of the corps’ island-hopping against Japan’s forces, revives the “Fleet Marine Force” idea that was adopted in 1933, after the corps abandoned its naval roots and went to war in France. Berger’s vision implies fewer land-based operations with aircraft delivering Marines to distant missions…

Read on.