7th marines

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Evening Quickie #soldierporn: The great cloud-continents of sunset seas.

A Sailor signals an AH-1Z Viper helicopter, attached to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 163 (Reinforced), to land aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) and salutes the pilot as the aircraft lifts off again. Makin Island, the flagship of the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group, is on a deployment with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit to promote peace and freedom of the seas by providing security and stability in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations. 

(U.S. Navy photos by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Christopher Lindahl, 4 FEB 2015. Title from sonnet by Thomas Bailey Aldrich.)

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Transfers and progress. I told you the game was changing. Going to finish up applying the decals to the rest of the marines (haven’t even touched the breachers, the missiles, or the vehicles) and then I have to make the bases. Yay.

U.S. Marines with 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment , Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force Crisis Response Central Command 16.2, participate in a live fire range during Exercise Eager Lion 16 at King Abdullah II Special Operations Training Center, Kingdom of Jordan on May 17, 2016. US Marine Corps Photo

news.usni.org

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Nathan Aldaco, a 12 year-old boy with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, learns about explosive ordnance during a Make-A-Wish event supported by 7th Engineer Support Battalion, 1st Marine Logistics Group, aboard Camp Pendleton, Calif., March 24, 2016. Marines with 7th ESB and Explosive Ordnance Disposal helped to make Nathan’s wish of becoming a Marine come true by demonstrating the capabilities of their EOD robots and detonating TNT, C4, dynamite and blasting caps, while the heavy equipment operators gave him the opportunity to ride the D7 dozer and the excavator, in which he dug a pit, built a berm, and broke several large tree trunks.

U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Laura Gauna

I have a question. Let us, just for a moment, ignore the implausibility of this scenario and discuss it purely from a moral standpoint, disregarding the implications it would have for our actual capabilities and possible alternatives.

What if at midnight, August 6, 1945, instead of dropping the atom bomb, the US had deployed the 7th Marine Regiment to conduct a night raid on the city of Hiroshima. During this raid, it was known with 100% certainty that the Marines would not conduct acts of rape or torture. Instead, beginning with the the population of the Shima surgical hospital, they moved in an expanding circle, killing patients, then pedestrians, and then moved house by home by home, building by building, block by block, instantly, mercilessly, and indiscriminately killing every man, woman, and child they encountered, painlessly and effortlessly, at a ratio of at least four civilians for every soldier, and that only because of a military base on the edge of the city. Imagine that these Marines actually killed 20 POWs from their own country because of their unceasing killing spree.

Imagine, that the longer they went on with this task, the more fatigued and sloppy they got, resorting to melee, looted, and improvised weapons as they ran short on ammo, so that while they managed to kill those in the hospital instantly and without detection, by the time they made it 500 meters from their initial location, They left 10% of their victims grievously wounded, but alive. By the time this death squad made it 2 km from their initial drop point, their fatality rate lowered to about 50%, simply maiming these civilians, leaving many with grotesque injury and a variety of devastating infections from their dirty knives and bayonets, sometimes manifesting in the form of painful deformations or even birth defects years later for those “lucky” enough to survive this rampage.

Imagine that they had killed 90% of doctors in the city when they did this, along with cutting all communication lines, and set off timed explosives and incendiary devices so that by the time they reached their extraction point just before sunrise, these Marines had killed around about 100,000 people, maimed countless more, and left the city a ruin.

Now, setting aside that such a feat would be quite difficult even if you had 2000 amoral Captain Americas, and that if we could conduct this raid, our military situation must not be quite so dire as we claim.

Would you consider this to be a moral action? What would you say about the person who ordered this raid? If Japan refused to surrender, so this death squad was deployed to a second city, this time only managing to slaughter half as many people as they did the first time, would that be moral?

And if it was declared after the fact that such an act was justified because had we not ordered the razing of these settlements, we would have had no choice but to send in even more soldiers to conduct an invasion the old fashioned way and killed even more Japanese people, so that really we were doing the Japanese a favor, because killing those children was payback for what the Japanese Navy did to our military base at Pearl Harbor (an attack that also killed civilians and we immediately recognized as morally unjustifiable), would we nod our heads and agree that truly Harry Truman was benevolent beyond measure for all of the lives that he saved when he gave the Japanese a taste of their own murderous medicine?

After all, the media would say, we know that the Japanese military had inflicted countless atrocities and humiliations upon innocent people all over the Pacific Rim, razing settlements to the ground, marching POWs to death, raping women on one hand while tearing out fetuses with bayonets and shooting infants in their mother’s arms. And since such an evil cannot reasonably be allowed to exist in any world that claims to care for justice, it was only fair that we liquidate tens of thousands of innocent Japanese to show the Japanese military the error of their ways, and then doing it again when the first mass murder failed to sway their hearts.

Tell me, in this world, where a gun and a bomb are inanimate objects, no more or less moral than the person that wields it, would it be OK if we wiped out Hiroshima and Nagasaki with the brave men and women who serve in our military? Or is it only OK to do it because a President giving an order to a pilot with a bomb is somehow more moral than a group of men with guns, knives, and grenades who accomplish the same task?

“Douglas A. Munro Covers the Withdrawal of the 7th Marines at Guadalcanal” by Bernard D’Andrea

On September 27, 1942 Signalman 1st Class Douglas Munro was in charge of ten boats assigned to land Marines ashore on Guadalcanal near the Matanikau River.  The landing was successful and Munro moved his boats to a previously determined rally point.  Upon reaching the rally point, Munro was informed the Marines ashore had come up against an enemy force larger than expected and were in dire need of evacuation or they would be killed.  Munro did not hesitate to volunteer for the mission.  Munro brought his boats right up to the beach under heavy enemy fire and proceeded to evacuated the Marines.  As the Marines reached the boats, Munro realized the last men off the beach would be in danger without cover, so the Guardsman maneuvered his boats so they could provide cover for the Marines, Munro manning one of the guns.  It was during this time that Munro received a fatal wound.  Reportedly, he remained conscious long enough for his last words to be “Are they off?”

Munro was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions.  The citation reads:

“For extraordinary heroism and conspicuous gallantry above and beyond the call of duty as Officer-in-Charge of a group of Higgins boats, engaged in the evacuation of a Battalion of Marines trapped by enemy Japanese forces at Point Cruz, Guadalcanal, on September 27, 1942.  After making preliminary plans for the evacuation of nearly 500 beleaguered Marines, Munro, under constant risk of his life, daringly led five of his small craft toward the shore.  As he closed with the beach, he signaled the others to land, and then in order to draw the enemy’s fire and protect the heavily loaded boats, he valiantly placed his craft with its two small guns as a shield between the beachhead and the Japanese.  When the perilous task of evacuation was nearly completed, Munro was killed by enemy fire, but his crew, two of whom were wounded, carried on until the last boat had loaded and cleared the beach.  By his outstanding leadership, expert planning, and dauntless devotion to duty, he and his courageous comrades undoubtedly saved the lives of many who otherwise would have perished.  He gallantly gave up his life in defense of his country.”