Friday, December 30, 2011

New Years Initium

Thought it would be a good idea to break out my first post of 2011 as we go into the weekend. So take a moment and contemplate your New Years Initium. Just keep in mind a good initium is always on time no matter the season. Of course, having the discipline and endurance to see it all the way from initium to finis is even more important.

Happy New Year everybody!
America's 1stSgt

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

33 Years Under The Green Blanket...

More stories my father told me.

As a kid I was regaled with tales of my father’s exploits in the Corps. To me it was like listening to the bold adventures of Tarzan or King Arthur. Sadly, in modern times these same adventures will earn young Marines reprimands both administrative and verbally concussive. [ I know many a FAST Marine reads these entries and yes, I will destroy you if you reenact anything you see printed here.]

He told me how Sailors used to sew silver dollar coins into their neckerchiefs. In a pinch, swabbies would yank their neckerchief off and have a nice sap in hand. Marines however, would sharpen the edges of the buckles on their web belts. Before a fight they would wrap the belt around their knuckles leaving about four or five inches of web belt hanging out with a nice sharpened brass buckle swinging from the end.  This brass was also highly polished of course. One couldn't get into a proper bar brawl with tarnished brass. The horror!

My dad related to me a short saga about the night he entered a bar frequented by both Sailors and Marines. The Marines were shooting pool in the back room and Sailors were taking their drinks in the front bar. In ancient times servicemen wore their uniforms all the time, even on liberty.  It was easy to spot who's who in the zoo. 

Passing a table of eight Sailors my old man heard one of them derisively remark: “Chicken$#!% Marines…” Unsure if he heard correctly, my father approached the table. Approach in this case would mean: 'loomed in with all his aggression.'

“Any of you &*$$!%$ want to fight then stand up right NOW!”  His fists smashed into the tabletop for emphasis, jaw set and eyes glaring. They declined to accept his invitation, each of them suddenly finding the bottom of his beer glass intimately fascinating. 

“But dad, what if they had all stood up?” I remember asking him excitedly, expecting judo chops and bodies hurled through windows. Rarely did my father spin a yarn that didn't end in violence of one kind or another.

He shrugged his shoulders: “I guess they would have whooped me. But they didn’t stand up.” 

All's well that ends well.
Semper Fidelis!
America's 1stSgt

Saturday, December 24, 2011

How the Plague Infected Christmas!

Zombie plague 

Infested Who-ville

Many succumbed to the rot...

But America’s 1stSgt,

Armed to the teeth,
Did NOT!

He rechecked his firearms. 
On the undead twas open season.

How did the pandemic start? No one quite knows the reason.

An industrial accident? Plotting terrorists!

It could be, perhaps, the work of mad scientists.

But I think that the most likely reason of all

May have been too much TV, the internet, and the mall.


Whatever the reason,

His eyes blazing red,

He stood there on Christmas Eve, hating the undead,
Staring down from his bunker through his binos with a frown

At the boarded up windows below in the town.

For he knew every Who down in Who-ville hadn’t fled

And were unprepared to repel those reanimated.

"They’re completely ill equipped!" he snarled with a sneer.

"Tomorrow is Christmas! The horde is practically here!"

Then he growled, his trigger finger reflexively pressing,

"I MUST save the day. Man, this is depressing!"

For, tomorrow, he knew...

...The infected would destroy.

Would run amok through the town. They'd eat every girl and boy!

And then! Oh, the noise! Oh, the noise! Noise! Noise! Noise!

That's one thing he hated! The NOISE! NOISE! NOISE! NOISE!

On the Whos, young and old, zombies would feast.

And they'd feast! And they'd feast!


Who children fleeing in terror, would fall prey to the beast.

Which was something the 1stSgt couldn't stand in the least!


They'd do something he liked least of all!
Every zombie in Who-ville, the tall and the small,

Would stand close together, the odd one still roaming.

They'd gather in a mob. And the dead would start moaning!

They'd moan! And they'd moan!

The very thought of this noise made the 1stSgt groan.
 He exclaimed out loud, "I must stop the undead!
It seems like forever their infection has spread!
I WILL stop them from coming!

...By sword-stroke and hot lead!"

"I know just what to do!" The 1stSgt grinned ear to ear.

And he made a quick inventory of all his war gear.

And he chuckled, and clucked, "What a great zombie fight!
With this sleigh mounted flame thrower I’ll cook them all night!"

On the sleigh he loaded ammo

And his tomahawk axe

Slung his rifle, holstered pistols

And set the flame thrower to ‘max’. 

Then he strapped on his blade,

Hammered in Japanese forge.

A monster cutter indeed,

Crafted for carnage and war.

He cheerfully swung aboard
And the sleigh started down

Toward the homes where zombies

Were already invading the town.

All their windows were dark. Quiet snow filled the air.

All the Whos were all dreaming sweet dreams without care

When he arrived to confront the horde within the town square.

"You’ll go hungry tonight," the 1stSgt hissed

And his pistols erupted, one in each fist.

Having gotten their attention, he continued the battle

Unleashing bursts of liquid flame and herding them like cattle.
Skin scorched, hair burning, they combusted in fire

Their bodies fell in a heap, a fitting funeral pyre.

The ghouls slithered and slunk, dead smiles unpleasant,

As the 1stSgt realized the fuel tank was most spent!

The ravenous swarm closed in like a mob,

But were dispersed again by flaming molotov.

Then he unslung his rifle. It spoke with a roar.

Well placed head shots splashing brains on the floor.

He was surrounded only once, for a moment or two.

Then drew his monster cutter and fought his way through. 

Heads tumbled like acrobats in the snow near his feet.
At the slaying of zombies he was considered elite.  
The battle punctuated with barking muzzle flashes.

He hurled corpses into the fire, burning them to ashes!

In the face of a ghoul a pistol he did shove

When he heard a small sound like the coo of a dove.

He turned around fast, and he saw a small Who!

Little Cindy-Lou Who, who was not more than two.

Surpirse at the appearance of this little Who daughter

How did she wander out here amidst all the carnage and slaughter?
She stared at him frightened and said, "1stSgt, why,

"Why do the dead walk the earth? WHY?"

Without another word he snatched her up quick!

Seeking to take her to safety most riki tik. 

He ran and he struck to escape the tide of undead.

But they seemed to appear wherever he fled.

Their clawed hands reached out seeking flesh in their grasp

He cursed at the ghouls and continued to slash. 
Trapped! A dead end with no where to go,

Patting Cindy-Lou on the head, he turned to face the dead foe.

Pissed he had let them corner him so.

Then he did hear a sound rising over the snow.

It started in low. 
Then it started to grow...

But the sound wasn't sad!

Why, this sound sounded merry!

It couldn't be so!

But it WAS merry! VERY!

He stared back at Who-ville!

The 1stSgt popped his eyes!

 Then he shook!

What he saw was a shocking surprise!

Every Who from Who-ville, the tall and the small,

Were fighting the zombies! Without any training at all!

He HADN'T stopped the undead from coming!

Somehow or other, the Whos fought just the same!

America’s 1stSgt, with his booted feet cold in the snow,

Stood puzzling and puzzling: "Could it be so?"

They brained zombies with hammers! They bludgeoned with sticks!

Hit them in the head with axes, and socks filled with bricks!
“Enough with the thinking! There are zombies to slay!”
Snatching up his tomahawk he rejoined the fray!

And what happened then...? Who-ville they say

America’s 1stSgt

Slew 10,000 undead in one day!

Inspired by his example, Who-ville fought through the night.

They killed invading ghouls until the bright morning light.

And when the battle was over, oh what a feast!

And he...
Served the first MRE!

Ha-ha! Merry Christmas everybody!
America's 1stSgt

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Christmapocalyptic Carol

As we shamble closer to Christmas Day I thought it was appropriate to share a warm Christmapocalyptic carol with you. If you all are extra special good there may be more where this came from.

Wilbur the infected was reanimated ghoul,
With fractured teeth and a missing nose,
And glazed eyes without a soul.

The Plague of Undeath was a fairy tale they said,
But what do you know the dead arose
And on living flesh they fed.

There must have been a mishap at
The laboratory they found.
For when they shot the mad doctor dead
His corpse still danced around!

O , Wilbur the infected did bite ferociously,
And survivors learned the only cure was
Traumatic brain injury.

Thumpetty thump thump,
Thumpetty thump thump,
Wilbur's banging down the hatch
Thumpetty thump thump,
Thumpetty thump thump,
Someone brain him with an axe!

America's 1stSgt took action with no delay
He yelled, "Let's run and grab our guns
Before the zombies can get away!"

Down to the village, with a rifle in his hand,
On a shooting spree slaying zombies
Reloading as he ran.

He shot them down in the streets of town
Right to the court house step.
And he only paused a moment when
He fixed his bayonet.

For Wilbur the infected had escaped into the night
But the 1stSgt said Wilbur'd stay dead
After a bayonet through the eye.

Thumpetty thump thump,
Thumpetty thump thump,
Which way'd the zombie go?
Thumpetty thump thump,
Thumpetty thump thump,
Could you spare some ammo?

As is my Christmas tradition, I have a zombie movie all qued up and ready for viewing this weekend. If you need any tips on how to survive a zombie apocalypse during the holidays check out the video I posted last year here.

America's 1stSgt

Monday, December 19, 2011

What we've been up to lately: Helo Ops

 The only tried and true method I can conceive to keep young Marines out of trouble is a rigorous training schedule. With that in mind we strive to keep the men busy with training events which may actually resemble something they will end up doing on a mission. This would be things like talking to pilots about casualty evacs, landing zone briefs and embarking/debarking from the bird.

Marines ready a casualty as a CH-60 lands.

Providing security for the LZ.

Circling above and keeping an eye out for evil doers.

"Dude, 'extra cheese' is not part of the LZ brief."

Marines exit the aircraft to provide security in order to load a casualty.

Second only to spending a day shooting guns on the range is spending a day flying around in helicopters.

Semper Fidelis!
America's 1stSgt

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Super Rabbit 1943, featuring a real super hero.

For your Saturday morning entertainment I present an old Warner Brothers cartoon starring Bugs Bunny from way back in 1943.  This was a time when your military were still the good guys and were actually lauded by the media. Enjoy the cartoon because you won't see anything like this made in modern times. For my money the really good part starts at 7:30.

Enjoy your Saturday!
America's 1stSgt

Friday, December 16, 2011

Why do they hate the good guys?

 You've probably seen allegations leveled at Dakota Meyer and the Marine Corps by a reporter who had been embedded in Meyer's unit. Right minded people will be suitably outraged I imagine. For some time I've had the opinion journalists and the news media really don't report the news anymore. They sell it. Perhaps the reporter in question didn't get a big enough story merely being embedded with Meyer's unit. I can't say. It would be a shame if accusations the Corps exaggerated events were true but the insinuation Meyer doesn't deserve recognition is revolting.  There was a time when journalism and integrity went together like bread and butter. Not so much now days. The media hasn't let hard facts get in the way of a good story for a long time now.

 It would appear modern news and entertainment media want nothing more than to smear the Armed Forces and for Americans to believe their military are the bad guys. Why do I feel this way? Turn on your television or computer and see for yourself. Lately every time a military member is portrayed in the media they are the villain in one form or another.  Let's count off just a few of my own observations shall we?

1. Homeland is a Showtime network television series about a disgraced CIA officer who is after a Marine she believes turned traitor during his captivity by Al Qaeda. Hey America! Your returning vets are dangerous enemies! I have refused to watch this program and am insulted it exists.

2. In Season 3 of Castle there is a two part episode involving a terrorist group building a dirty bomb. Although the initial suspects are Syrian it turns out the real terrorists are a group of special ops veterans. The NYPD are aided by a Homeland Security agent who is little better than a jack booted thug himself. Again, vets are dangerous domestic threats and even Homeland Security is to be despised even though they are on our side. Oh yeah, the Syrian spy is the hero of the episode when he passes critical intel to the detectives.

3. In Season 6 of The Closer three Army Rangers are killed in a drive by shooting. Of course the military liaison involved gets wrapped around the axle over possible terrorist connections and hampers the investigation. This is because military officers are stupid and suffer from tunnel vision. 

4. In Season 7 of The Closer a minister is found dead in a motel. Long story short, it turns out his young son, a U.S. Marine, is the murderer. This has become so predictable as soon as I saw the kid in uniform I knew he had to be the killer. Yawn...

5. I must confess, on occasion the military is painted in a fairly positive light. For instance Time's runner up for person of the year is none other than Admiral William McRaven. Who is he runner up to? Why none other than "The Protestor." Who? You know, the Muslim Brotherhood and those unwashed clowns taking a dump in Zuccotti Park. Because Americans should be more like them and less like a Navy SEAL.

 I suppose I could go on but I have touched on this kind of thing before.

 My feeling is the media hates the likes of Dakota Meyer and everything he represents. He represents loyalty and devotion to something other than himself. He represents a standard of conduct and living they can never measure up to so they attempt to tear it down. They can't stand to see American troops do good so they taint our actions with their lies and insinuation. They call the good things we do evil and their evil deeds good. The idea a journalist questions the integrity of the likes of Dakota Meyer would be laughable if it wasn't so abhorrent. The Marine Corps continues to stand by Sgt Dakota Meyer as do I.
Despite rumors to the contrary, the good guys look just like this.
Want proof the good deeds of your warriors go unnoticed by the mainstream media? How many of you have seen this story?

Semper Fidelis!
America's 1stSgt

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Dealing with bullies.

A closed fist always seemed to do the trick for me.

I know this isn’t going to go over well with milquetoast hand wringers who feel violence never solved anything. My experience says otherwise. I’ve had my fair share of punch ups with bullies of various stripes and I have yet to go on a shooting spree.

Growing up I was always the new kid in school. With all the moving around we did I must have changed schools eight or nine times. It was good training.

On the subject of fighting at school my dad always told me if I were protecting myself or sticking up for someone else it was forgivable. He would go to the mat with anyone who said otherwise. On the other hand, if I were the one picking on other kids he would grind my bones for his bread. My father was pretty convincing.

In sixth grade I attended a Catholic school in up state New York. It was the kind of institution where all the boys had to wear ties. To this day I hate wearing a shirt and tie. The playground was a large dirt lot in back of the school surrounded by a chain link fence. Sounds like prison doesn't it? I'm sure Catholic school grads will sympathize.

I have never been accused of being a large person (save from the neck up). There was one kid who towered over the rest of us by a solid mile. Passing clouds would get hung up around his ears and in the spring you could still see a little snow on the top of his head. He introduced the new kid to the dynamics of the schoolyard by spitting on me. You hear a lot about walking away from trouble but sometimes trouble won't let you be and follows you across the playground spitting the whole way.

Finally having had enough, I reached down and grabbed a fist full of dirt and hurled it into my assailants face. He sputtered and swore rubbing his face trying to clear his vision. Had I just escalated the situation? Certainly. Was this going to end in a fight? You bet.

I figured this was a beating I was going to have to take. I braced myself as a freight train of 11 year old fury crashed into and over me. After the dust up he lectured me saying it was what I got for throwing dirt in people's faces. Ah, sweet irony.

My detractors will point out I not only was spit on but got my tail kicked too. Both of these facts are true as well as this: no one ever spat on me again either. Go figure.

Taking action on your own behalf always seems a better course of action than sitting around waiting for someone to do it for you. Here’s an example of what I mean.

Semper Fidelis,
America's 1stSgt

Monday, December 12, 2011

Marine Corps Ball Pictures

I know it is somewhat late but I promised to post some pics from this years ball. Rest assured, those responsible for the untimely delivery of these shots will be flogged in the traditional manner. You know who you are!


The Adjutant.

Your narrator.

Cake ninjas!

Sword detail enters.

More cake ninjas!

Adj reads General Lejeune's traditional birthday message.

Sword ninjas exit.

Riflemen are always in order too.
The spread.

There's always one clown.
Traditional Marine attempt to encourage others to get on the dance floor.

It works.

All in all a rather successful evening. Next year I think a little axe throwing will really get the party into high gear!

Semper Fi,
America's 1stSgt

Friday, December 9, 2011


Wishing you and yours a merry Christmas from the Camp of the Praetorians.

Hey, it was as close to a Sinterklaas outfit as I could get.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Oath Taking

I sometimes wonder if keeping one’s word is falling into disrepute in the modern era. Promises are made lightly and integrity is matter of convenience. There was a time in America where someone’s reputation depended on their reliability and integrity.  

In the Marine Corps oath taking is serious business. We hold reenlistment formations where we retake our oaths in front of our fellow Marines. This marks the reenlistment as an important milestone for those recommitting to something other than themselves in a time when lesser men promote self oriented entitlement and a morality akin to an alley cat. To illustrate the concept of fidelity I always tell Marines if their spouse can’t trust them then there is no reason the Marine to their left or right can either.

Today we’ll examine the Oath of Enlistment. The Oath is taken by members of the Armed Forces when they enlist and particularly resonates when they reenlist. 

Before we get into the Oath itself  let’s look at the definition of the word.

Oath: A solemn, formal calling to witness the truth of what one says or to witness that one sincerely intends to do what one says.

So, upon deciding to take the Oath of Enlistment you are inviting others to observe and take note of what you are about to do. The reason we call on others to witness something is for proper accountability of what is happening. Essentially you are saying I intend to do the following and you all are here to see if it is true or not.

I, ____________, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.

So let’s review this vow: “I, do solemnly swear…”

Solemn: marked by the observance of established form or ceremony, marked by grave sedateness and earnest sobriety. Synonym – serious.

Swear: to assert or promise emphatically, to bind by an oath.

In other words the oath taker is saying he is: “…formally and with great thoughtfulness, seriousness, and clear headedness, bind myself…” to the following course of action. The idea of binding yourself to something implies you are tied to it and cannot let go. It is an illustration of the dedication and commitment one is making.

“…I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States…”

Support: to endure bravely, to uphold as valid or right, to pay the cost of.

Defend: to drive danger or attack away from.

Constitution: established law or custom, the structure, composition, make up, or nature of something.

So this part of the Oath could be read as: “…I will bravely endure and uphold as right the very nature and customs of the United States and drive away any danger which threatens it.” Cool.

…against all enemies foreign and domestic;…

Enemy: one that is antagonistic to another, one seeking to injure, overthrow, or confound, something harmful or deadly, a hostile force.

Foreign: situated outside one’s own country, characteristic of some other place, alien in character.

Domestic: of or relating to, or originating within one’s own country.

 Identifying who are our nation’s enemies and who are not is a much debated subject. I tend to take a simple view of the matter. If they threaten our people, society, and our way of life then they probably need be dealt with. With that in mind this sentence might read:

“…against all those who seek to do it harm, whether their origin is unfamiliar and strange or from within our own country…”

Let us continue…

…that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same;…

Bear: to carry, to move while holding up and supporting.

True: steadfast, loyal, without deviation.

Faith: allegiance to duty (loyalty), fidelity to one’s promises, sincerity of intentions.

Allegiance: fidelity owed by a citizen to a sovereign or government, devotion or loyalty to a person, group, or cause.

Notice how often the words fidelity and loyalty keep popping up? Interesting. For instructional purposes we turn to author Robert A. Heinlein:

"The two highest achievements of the human mind are the twin concepts of "loyalty" and "duty". Whenever these twin concepts fall into disrepute, get out of there fast! You may possibly save yourself, but it is too late to save that society. It is doomed."

Continuing on: “…that I will carry out these intentions, without deviation, in support of this cause…”

…that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me,…

Obey: to follow the commands or guidance of, to conform or comply with, to behave obediently.

We have a saying: “You joined the Marine Corps. The Marine Corps didn’t join you.” It is a shocking revelation to many young people they no longer get to do whatever they want to. Welcome to the really real world! You agree to conform to our way of life.

Officer: one who holds an office of trust, authority, or command.

Appointed: to set officially.

Despite rumors to the contrary, rarely is anything of substance accomplished by committee. Someone has to lead and make decisions. In the military we have those officially tasked to do just that. 

“…I will comply with the commands of the President and the guidance of those lawfully in authority or command…”

…according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

Regulation: rule or order issued by executive authority.

Uniform Code of Military Justice: federal law enacted by Congress to establish a standard set of procedural and substantive criminal laws for all the U.S. military services.

There are those who probably think these concepts are all just a load of romantic excrement as are concepts like fidelity and honor. They are only so much dung if we allow them to be. Here at the Camp of the Praetorians we will continue to strive to embody those ideals. Sometimes we may fail, but if it were easy or inherent they probably wouldn’t be worth striving for.

Now raise your right hand and repeat after me:

“I, [state your full name], do formally and with great thoughtfulness, seriousness, and clear headedness, bind myself to bravely endure and uphold as right the very nature and customs of the United States and drive away any danger which threatens it; I will stand against all those who seek to do it harm, whether their origin is unfamiliar and strange or from within our own country; that I will carry out these intentions, without deviation, in support of this cause; I will comply with the commands of the President and the guidance of those lawfully in authority or command, according to rules and orders issued by executive authority. So help me God.”

Now, go out and hunt some Taliban!

Semper Fidelis!
Amierca's 1stSgt

Monday, December 5, 2011

On any given day...

Pakistani gentlemen on bikes cruise through my neighborhood trying to sell watches and other sundries. My favorite pitch: "Hey boss! Sexyladymassage?"

Don't worry, all such business inquires are politely declined.

The same guy pedals his bike by my apartment every other day. His handle bars are loaded with platic bags near bursting with knock off watches. Every single time I see him he doesn't fail to ask: "Sir, buy watch?" Each time I tell him no thanks. He will respond with: "Very special gift, sir." Normally I say no thanks again and move on. One day I'm going to say: "Oh! A very SPECIAL gift? Why didn't you say so!"

I want ask him if he understands the definition of insanity. Then again, I suppose just by asking if I want to buy a watch he has already done more work in one moment than the entire OWS crowd combined. In that case, I'm not mad at him.

Semper Fi,
America's 1stSgt

Saturday, December 3, 2011

A Marine Christmas Tune

I mentioned to someone recently the holidays were my favorite time of year because I rarely get to spend them at home.

Thanks to ExAFCrewDog for the heads up!

Semper Fidelis!
America's 1stSgt

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Season of Christmapocalypse!

It is the second of December and I just want to remind everyone to remain vigilaint so as to not be consumed by the denizens of the season.

I also want to point out I have received ZERO recipes as per my post last month on the subject. This doesn't hurt my feelings by any means.  However, I reserve the right to point and laugh next time I get an e-mail from someone wanting to guest blog about cooking when it doesn't involve a flame thrower.

In the meantime, as is our tradition at the Camp of the Praetorians, some zombie stuff...

U.S. Marines have proven 100% effective in the containment and elimination of zombie outbreaks. There will never be a movie made about it as the entire film would last a whole ten minutes.

Hat tip to my shipmate over at The Mellow Jihadi

More Christmapocalyptic posts to follow.

Semper Fidelis!
America's 1stSgt