8 May 1997

Dear Secretary Cohen,

I'm appalled that its reported that the marine corps is being cut by only 2,000 personnel when it frankly hasn't done "squat" for the last two decades while the United States Army has done the lion's share of the building, peacekeeping, fighting and the dying. I don't know who is advising you to grant a "sacred cow" status for this organization, but 174,000 marines that gets you less than 3 tiny evacuation forces and less than 2-1/2 divisions for $9+ billion dollars is a monumental waste of money. Don't let marine corps apologists TRY to divert you from what's really important by statistical "tooth-to-tail" ratios; what's really important is that both marine corps "tooth" and "tail" are really doing next to nothing for the manpower and money being spent on them. That's the brutal truth, and its time we stop believing what we want to believe about the Corps and develop the moral courage to admit "the emperor has no clothes". The USMC is a secretive society that closes ranks to perpetuate myths about itself and its capabilities that the unitiated can easily fall prey to. Compare their "gooblygook" and high-sounding talk to what the other services are actually doing. The marine corps is no bargain if its doing little or nothing significant in the real world. It doesn't take 174,000 men to "show the flag" around the world or land a few troops on some beaches with tiny allied nation marine corps.

Low-grade infantry: Note marines on yet another minor landing exercise/Public Relations-cum photo-opportunity bunched together in slipshod camouflage making it easier for an enemy to detect and wipe them out with a single burst of small arms fire...

Its about time that this idle, always-waiting-for- a-WWII-rehash-that'll-never-happen outfit be trimmed by 10,000-20,000 slots; we do not need the myriad marine Commands, Training Squadrons, Silent Drill Teams, Combat Development bureaucracies, logistical bases, security detachments, 2 recruit training depots, dozens of General and staff officers drawing per diem at headquarters, marine corps an entire second naval air force with fighters, attack jets, transport planes, helicopters and all of the pork-barrel subsidiary organizations created by careerist marines for institutional political clout/expansion. That the mc has become too big and cannot handle its empire is proven by its horrendous fatal accident rates: the highest of all the services! The smallest service, highest fatalities due to peace-time screw-ups? That dog don't hunt.

KITSCH MONUMENT: low-brow, pretentious art

Pagan, idolatry
Sexy chick who doesn't know shit about war loves the dumb marine corps!

Silly displays like above are a waste of time, resources and do not win wars....When NatArt Director, J. Carter Brown called it "Kitsch" trying to say it was popular, the bronze statue worshipers led by Rep. Gerald Solomon R-NY whined for a resignation! WAA! Do not bow to the mc thought-police or worship the mc!

Keep fighting units, merge them into the U.S. Army so it can have both an AIRBORNE and amphibious Corps for seamless AIRLAND battle with its "bugs worked out" NOW before war starts, just like D-Day, June 6, 1944 where the U.S. ARMY----not the marines--- led the largest AIRBORNE-amphibious invasion in history to win the war in Europe against Hitler's Germany. The marines have never fought a first-rate enemy in war; the Japanese in the Pacific were primarily foot infantry, the Germans in WWI exhausted by the time we got there. Only the U.S. Army has fought and defeated a first-rate combined arms (tanks, armored personnel carriers, artillery, engineers etc.) power---Nazi Germany in 1942-45--we lose sight of this fact amidst marine revisionism and bluster.

U.S. Army FMTV 5-ton truck & 155mm howitzer debarking a U.S. Navy Landing Craft Air-Cushion (LCAC--a hovercraft) on a beach: since a LCAC can deliver any ground vehicle far inland on an air-cushion this proves a U.S. Army-marine corps merger is easy and would yield a fully terrain-mobile force geared to not just stop at the water's edge but fight and WIN WARS inland using DOZENS of small, agile ground vehicles like the legendary TRACKED M113A3 <i>Gavin</i> Armored Personnel Carrier with applique' armor proof against RPG and small arms fire, Force XXI digitized M2A3 <i>Bradley</i> Infantry Fighting Vehicles and M1A3 <i>Abrams</i> Main Battle Tanks...

... instead of a few WHEELED LAV armored cars that cannot roll over rubble/broken glass depicted at the top or monstrously huge amphibious armored vehicles (AAVs) with a quarter of a rifle company packed like sardines inside subject to fiery death...

We are the only nation silly enough to make a forcible entry means that actually requires a division's worth of troops into an entire seperate service bureacracy with 174,000 men yet can't deliver us a Divisional-sized landing force in a timely manner (it needs to be there in hours, not days, weeks, months--war will be over before then)!!!! The bigger the mc grows, the less we get. We can't afford a so-called sea based second land army that is actually land-locked that parcels itself out in irrelevent penny packets that perform minor, low-risk, showy, "pet" missions while the U.S. Army shoulders the nation's land peacekeeping and war fighting burdens.

If 40,000 slots needs to be cut, each service should take a 10,000 man cut to include the do-little marine corps. If the usmc wants to be treated like a seperate service it needs to make the sacrifices of a seperate service or else be absorbed into the U.S. Navy or Army completely which would cut billions of dollars in overhead costs arising from bureacracies existing just for the sake of the organization not war-fighting. Don't be taken in by spit-shines and fancy uniforms worn by braggadocio espousing simpletons; who is actually doing the work defending freedom around the world? Who are actually in these Third World Country "hell holes" patching up villagers? Who's patrolling the mean streets of Haiti and Bosnia? Who's doing the real world missions right now, not sitting on a ship or shooting blanks at each other or polishing barracks floors in the U.S.?

The U.S. Army is doing all these good deeds, not the mc.

Don't blame headquarters marine corps; they don't want to cut back on their bureacracy for a force structure able to do anything but low-risk media intensive evacuations and beach landings; almost a quarter of a million marines yet unable to take a beachhead if anything more than an enemy Brigade is defending it. Less than 3 foot-mobile, low-skill level quasi-light infantry divisions out of 174,000 men at a cost of BILLIONS of dollars.

The marine corps has become an ego club for co-dependants not a true amphibious warfare fighting organization. When was the last time a real amphibious operation has been undertaken in time of war? Korea. Over 48 years ago, almost 5 decades, half a century. By splitting up what few ships we have to the "four winds", we will not be able to mass enough combat power in time to effect any kind of significant amphibious movement onto an enemy's flanks in a world that moves by the speed of the air. Will it take us losing South Korea before we realize we've squandered billions on a headquarters marine corps-led "black hole"; an organization that has let true amphibious warfare disintegrate in favor of ego-gratifying evacuations and beach landings? We had the 1975 debacle on Koh Tang island where the marines led helicopters into a fiery ambush that left over 30 Americans dead and the marines left 10 of their own behind to be tortured and killed. We had unqualified for special operations marines insist on flying Delta Force into Desert One that resulted in another fiery disaster leaving 8 dead. Three years later marines were packed like sardines into a headquarters building that was blown up by a truck bomb, 265+ more body bags. After that it was decided to leave marines offshore where they would be safe from the enemy and themselves and where they have stayed ever since. An organization that constantly brags about its alleged superiority to all others at the same time hides its serious errors and shuns constructive criticism, and destroys the careers of those who try to right these wrongs is doomed to disaster.

I think its high time that those that are doing the work get the credit and the budgetary support; cut 10-20,000 land-locked leatherneck bureaucrats talking "trash' here in hometown U.S.A. not a couple of U.S. Army divisions out there in harm's way in sniper and artillery range securing the peace. Look at the thousands of marines sitting here at Camp Pendleton, Camp Lejeune, 29 Palms, Quantico, Little Creek while thousands of Army troops are thousands of miles away making the world a better place. The 2nd Infantry Division sitting under artillery range of the greates concentration of guns ever assembled. The 1st Armored Division and dozens of other U.S. Army units in Germany and Bosnia. The numerous Special Forces units in forgotten, devastated countries. Look at the facts, not jarhead bluster.

I'm sick of headquarters marine corps distortions; if we want to really reform the DOD it starts by rewarding the "doers" not the 'showboats".

The next Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff?

General Sheehan may be an iconoclast, but he's still a marine Corps "wolf" in joint service clothing. His real agenda is to further the marine corps at all costs. Put a no-nonsense warfighter-not an infighter in there. Why not recall General Gordon Sullivan back to active duty? Or a younger lead-by-example General like MG David Grange who used to command Rangers? General Henry Shelton, CINCUSSOCOM is a take-care-of-the-troops kind of leader who led the invasion of Haiti superbly and would be a great Chairmen JCS and/or Chief of Staff of the Army.

Editor's note: after this letter was submitted, General Shelton was named as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff....

As an institution, the marine corps grows parochial bigots, not selfless warriors in favor of national defense. Anyone who sings about heaven being guarded by themselves is a seriously warped individual who has forgotten that war is a necessary evil, not the catch-all-end-all reason for human existence. As the dying General Sam Damon pleads at the end of Anton Myrer's epic novel, Once an Eagle: "If you have to choose between being a good soldier and being a good human being..... BE A GOOD HUMAN BEING..."

America first!

Michael Sparks---human being and patriot--FIRST---not some title some vain organization has rendered to me on condition that I worship it----------

P.S. This is my opinion, yes..but I speak the truth. I don't care how popular the usmc may be to some of the American public fueled by TV commercials and Hollywood; popular myths are not reality. Treating the corps like some sort of spoiled child is not justified by her performance in the nation's military operations of the last 2 decades. We can ill afford to continue to waste billions on this sacred cow. Cut the overhead, get rid of the smug elitist bureacracies and we'll correct the wrong began in 1947 when we made a battlefield entry means into a seperate service, so we can win wars again ala 1945.


Beirut: MARINE commander didn't listen to Intelligence reports, no knowledge of the long history of middle east car bomb attacks, 265+ marines slaughtered....

Desert One: marines unqualified to fly special operations helicopters ram into a C-130, killing 8 men...Making the U.S. look like jack asses....No hostages rescued.....Semper Fi!

Koh Tang Island: marines land in broad daylight onto the beaches where they get slaughtered by enemies dug-in with heavy machine guns...26 dead, no hostages rescued....

Lance Corporal Jason Rother abandoned in the 29 Palms desert after an exercise; his absence not noted for days, he dies trying to walk out, 8 miles away from the nearest town. HQMC makes scapegoats of his entire chain-of-command instead of reforming the institution and providing basic Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape (SERE) skills to the individual marine to empower him to improvise, adapt and overcome in event he gets seperated from his unit....Drill & Ceremony and other showy nonsense (retirement cermonies, parades etc.) that max the mc image are more important---"just don't get seperated from your unit!"(ie:---be a dependant puppy).... hqmc should send a memo of this to all prospective enemy push-overs slated for the next mc "evacuation". "Taking care of our own" means if you embarass the mc, you will be sacrificed rather than admit that there are SYSTEMIC PROBLEMS within the organization needing to be solved. Anything that goes wrong: blame the individual marine or whoever is in charge. Many jarheads are fond of saying: "There's always a 10% that doesn't deserve to be marines----" etc. etc. ad nauseum: you call this LEADERSHIP????.


Real Leadership SOLVES PROBLEMS, not makes scapegoats---Real LEADERS like an Evans Carlson or Lawrence Chamberlain INSPIRE men who are so-called "losers" and "rejects" and they together save the day for this nation at the critical moments when victory or defeat is decided by a forgotten few, not the ballyhooed proud.

"Cast the first stone"? The mc house is built on vanity and glass....Want some more marine screw-ups?

The source of these screw-ups is ARROGANCE. Some think a shiny boot or starched uniform makes you a warrior proficient in modern tactics and aware of the latest weapons..you are seriously misguided....

And..eager reader, I spent 9 years in the mc....Boot camp, Infantry Training School, Officer Candidate School, The Basic School for officers, Infantry Officer Course....to name a few and thats not mentioning U.S. Army schools/experiences....

You'd note I advocate a mc-ARMY merger....or do you just react by your emotions before appraising the situation....not good...

In Vietnam, such rashness led marines to chase VC/NVA into baited traps.....THINK FIRST...The enemy's entire strategy was to bleed us and have us leave via mounting public pressure at home...IT WORKED, DIDN'T IT?....there are more ways to win wars than just battlefield "victories" and body counts. War is not a sporting contest with a scoreboard. Its a conflict of wills--who's will-ideas dominate.

Some want to quote the Bible..... how about: "Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall"????? The Few, The PROUD, The DAMNED BY THE LORD, mARINES.

Hey--There will not be any marines guarding the streets in heaven, knucklehead--there will be no war....

The Gulf War?

The Army did the left flanking movement and fought the Republican Guard, not the mc...headquarters marine corps wanted to assault fortified Kuwaiti beaches and slaughter our young marines fresh from high school eager to earn battlefield glory as they sit in air conditioned offices..all to further the ego/budget share of the mc..fortunately wiser heads in the DOD prevailed......the mc is no longer sent in first unless its an easy task or we are desperate and have no other choice. This is the reality since Beirut in 1983 proved the mc force structure is not up to the challenges of an alert opponent.

How about Panama?

The entire MC sitting on its butts while the U.S. ARMY AIRBORNE and RANGERS are jumping in at 500 feet to take down Noriega.....if we had waited for the mc to arrive by slow ships we'd have had heavy casualties from a dug-in, alerted enemy...(Don't even try to cite a tiny detachment of marines on LAV armored cars and security forces and their token involvement. Panama was an all Army and Air Force war, brilliantly executed). Only a marine would try to re-invent history to make it look like the mc won Panama and all the nation's wars...NOT!

They just selected an ARMY AIRBORNE GENERAL to be Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, not marine iconoclast, General Sheehan....I'd say the Airborne commands greater respect than the mc boys club for men...

I was once a narrow-minded marine robot..no...I thank God we have adults in my formations...I remember being in a marine formation left on the drill field at Camp Pendleton one day..we were told to wait by our NCO....hours passed..........

......noone moved................it got dark..................no action...

FINALLY I grew tired of this stupidity and inquired in the building...we were supposed to have checked in, and our NCO had left us...this kind of no-initiative behavior will get you killed. Its stupid, not disdciplined. The NCO went to the mall to get his girlfiend and got "sidetracked"....Semper Fi! As usual, I had to square everyone else away, they were too timid and "afraid" of being yelled at.....by a sergeant.....what would these men do under fire? Get wiped out. You don't win wars by timid sheep.

Mediocrity via FORM superceding FUNCTION is a mc mirage and way of life.....A writer said:

"The record speaks for itself........."

Yes, it does...if you actually read it, and not your propaganda, you'd see how screwed up the mc is...I've also experienced it....The National Command Authorities have determined that the mc cannot be trusted to do difficult, sensitive missions inland; why they stay ashore so much these days after Beirut. Army SF/ABN, infantry units are given long-term assignments requiring maturity and restraint. Thats a fact.

"Go to ANY foreign country and say you're in the U.S. Army........."

...and that the AIRBORNE is coming to get them, they flee and surrender like the leaders of Haiti did when they heard we were inbound from Fort Bragg.....the leaders didn't budge from the marines off-shore.........When America has Patratroopers inbound the bad guys know "the excrement has hit the fan"...a puny battalion of marines off-shore is token "saber rattling" and they know it....

"Tell them you are a marine, and they are in awe......." OF YOUR UNIFORMS...I burned mine....I'd rather have a piece of field gear to do the job than a set of dress blues..any woman overly impressed with a vain person who is ignorant of war fighting is shallow and not likely to be a very good partner in life.....

As for me, when I was a marine, I always thought the Airborne in their maroon berets and jump boots looked better because they actually do something that takes courage..jumping out of an airplane at 500 feet with combat equipment is a lot harder than sitting on a helicopter bench seat and remembering not to walk into the rotor blades....

"When the stuff hits the fan, you come screaming and running to the corps for help....."

Negative..why should I want someone who can't land navigate? Or move by bounding overwatch? Or do a leader's recon? Or do mission analysis? Who can only move in bloated 13-man abortions? Who exercise crappy and non-existant camouflage? Who are ignorant of the levels of war? Who is not trained to THINK--to use initiative....?


Do you, the reader.... know what the Operational level of war is?




What Maneuver warfare is?

How does it differ from Airland battle?

Whats a Sagger ATGM?

How does it differ from a Fagot AT4 ATGM?

What's the difference between a RPK and a RPD?

Which one is a belt-fed medium machine gun? Which is a light machine gun?

What is the benefit of a tripod-mounted Machine Gun over a bipod mounted MG?

If you have trouble answering these questions....you must be spending too much time in the mirror admiring yourself in your dress blues and at the gym..I suggest reading B.H. Liddell-Hart's STRATEGY and Jane's INFANTRY WEAPONS as a start.

Wake up!!! marine!!! Your glass house is in fragments!!! Get some boots on or your feet will get cut up!!!

P.S. When you are really ready for some professional "shop talk", read the following.....

What I want is the marine corps to be under the control of tacticians not bureaucrats at hqmc. A mc-Army merger would achieve this...I'm going to add the following onto my letter to the SECDEF as a sidebar, you get to see it first....


*Brigade-sized floats of significant size to actually secure a beachhead and fight inland

* Armored, tracked Mobile Multiple Launch Rocket Systems so we are not outgunned/outranged by enemy artillery

*Instead of filling our limited amphibious shipping up with road-bound Unarmored, unarmed Hummers that can be turned into a flaming wreck by a mere burst of small arms fire, we have dozens of digitized armored personnel carriers and Bradley fighting vehicles to overwhelm enemies with operational maneuver, not just seize a piece of terrain...

*Digitized M1A3 main battle tanks in significant numbers instead of vulnerable to anything above small arms fire LAV armored cars

*U.S. Army attack and transport aviation capable of extreme nap-of-the-earth and FLIR aided flight deploying from amphibious ships instead of showy, suicidal day formation flight by low-skill level marine pilots; marine pilots given a chance to upgrade to Special Operations flight levels

*AH-64 Apache Longbows and OH-58D Kiowa Warriors (eventually RAH-66 Comanche "stealth") helicopters operating off amphibious ships and forward bases in support of Amphibious/Airborne operational maneuver

*Airborne/Special Operations plans integrated into a seamless war-winning team NOW in peacetime not ad hoc (at the last minute) by unified commands in time of war

*Airborne training for MPF personnel to deploy and link up with pre-po ship equipment without need of secure runways likely to be targeted by the enemy fighting smart

*ALL marines (not just mc bureaucracy's favorites) able to freely attend all U.S. Army schools and pick up warrior skills; Airborne, Air Assault, Mountain warfare(we need one school not two), SERE, Combat Lifesaver (in every squad not a just corpsman for every platoon), Ranger, Pathfinder, Expert Infantryman Badge testing etc.---no more trash talk of the U.S. Army would ensue when they find out that they are weak in individual initiative, land navigation, camouflage, tactics, operational art, realization that "spit and polish" emphasis is nonsense and a waste of time...

* The serving marine has a hell of a lot to gain by merging the mc into the U.S. Army..the only thing he'd have to give up is the lurking inferiority-superiority complex, he'd have to show any superiority by demonstrated behavior. Eventually a realization would settle in that ground combat is difficult and we had best reserve our anger for the enemies of freedom.

*The Lifers at hqmc created ironically at THE BASIC SCHOOL by immature young officers wanting to be treated as superior beings would no longer have a "career" and a pet service to foist plans that expand budget share and build personal empires. They would have to compete with a broader cross-section of American military professionals, their nonsense would not go forward into institutional plans unchallenged. Constructive criticism would be created for the first time within the ranks of the usmc officer and enlisted corps.


Are you aware of what took place in the 1930s after WWI? War is an art form, not a science. Human creativity is involved. War theorists seeing the rise of mechanization (JFC Fuller, B.H. Liddell-Hart, Billy Mitchell) warned about the future face of battle and tried to awaken their countrymen at great personal cost. The bad guys listened, and over-ran Europe. Guderian's Panzers took their writings and made them reality while the book writers were ostracized in their country by the combat veterans with "more experience". Experience in war in the past is NOT enough. The Poles, French and British that got out-fought in 1940 were combat veterans.....they were physically fit....but they lost, didn't they?

The same holds true for toay. War is not some sporting contest between equals. There are many paths to victory and resting on old laurels and deceiving ourselves is organizational suicide. While I was in the usmc the Maneuver Warfare reform movement was fought bitterly by the ego-weenies who worship the corps and subsequently are closed-minded. A small example;

We were sitting in a restaurant for lunch..marine LT (me), Civilian, and two Captains in Q-town. The civilian asked about using sound to detect snipers on the battlefield. The one Captain tore into him explaining how "he didn't know what he was talking about", and that "if he had his field experience he'd know such ideas are impractical" etc ad nauseum. Want to know something?

You can buy acoustical small arms detection systems NOW off-the-shelf--read Jane's or click here! AAI Anti-sniper set I've seen them and they work. What an asshole that Captain (is) was....This is the smug, arrogant attitude in the corps I'm talking about.....We had a near accident during a night helicopter insertion recently and Colonels write in to Gazette saying we should STOP LANDING HELICOPTERS AT NIGHT! Believe it??? The O'Grady rescue came within a missile of a flaming tragedy because marines can't (don't want to) fly at night....

This isn't LEADERSHIP our young marines, or the nation deserves of its tremendous investment it places....

Maybe now, you see where I'm coming from and see the urgent need to shake up the corps and make it a part of a humbler, more objective, open-minded whole....


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