On Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and...Marines!

On Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and...Marines!

Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

May 21st, 2005, 2:06 pm #1

Date: Fri, 1 Aug 2003 04:33:48 -0700 (PDT)
To: R.W.GAINES <gyg1345@yahoo.com>


Subject: Soldier

Sometime ago in a thread you argued vociferously
about the use of the term "Soldier." You were
correct by the way, at least in the way I
understand the use of that word to apply to
Marines. When I was a callow youth, in 1951, I
returned from Korea and was stationed at MB,
Shumaker, Arkansas. I commanded the Guard
Company, and did many other chores as any junior
officer does in a command that had only four
Marine officers. The base commander was a Navy
captain, and almost as new as I was to the

Anyway, I had occasion to report to the
Captain as the recorder of a Board of
Investigation. As I was under arms, I of course
saluted, made my report, saluted again,
about-faced and headed for the door. The Captain
stopped me and made several complimentary remarks
about my appearance and "Soldierly bearing." He
also used the term "Soldier" once or twice more
in referring to me. In my total ignorance, I was

Later that day I complained to the MC CO
about the base commander referring to me as a
"Soldier." My CO got a real chuckle out of my
complaint, and told me that instead of the
Captain demeaning me, he had instead paid me the
highest compliment possible. My CO was LtCol
Louis Nathaniel King, and had been a white hat in
1936 when he passed the exam for the Naval
Academy, graduated from there, and chose to enter
the MC. Of course, he, unlike myself, was steeped
in Naval traditions and knew all about the use of
the term "Soldier." On occasion I've referred to
other Marines as "Soldiers," always explaining
that was the highest compliment that I could call
them with our "Soldiers of the sea" origins. I'm
afraid that with the decline in Navy capital
ships, that the MC is loosing much of its naval
traditions since the chance of service as a
member of a Marine Detachment has undoubtedly
declined. We always said that: "A Marine was
everything of a Soldier, and half a Sailor too."

We also said that the reason that Marines were
kept embarked in Navy ships for thirty days prior
to a combat landing was that after thirty days on
one of those buckets that when you got off you
just had to kill someone. Wasn't really fair to
the Japanese, I suppose.

Please note that I
always capitalize "Soldiers," "Sailors," and
"Airmen." In my book they deserve the same
respect that I pay to my beloved Marines.

Semper Fidelis,
tientsin (Sully)

Web Site:
<a href="http://sullyusmc.com</a" target="_new">http://sullyusmc.com</a>

R.W. "Dick" Gaines
GnySgt USMC (Ret.)
1952 (Plt #437)--'72
GyG's Globe and Anchor! --Sites & Forums
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Last edited by Dick Gaines on May 25th, 2005, 4:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.