usmc quote

“I love you” isn’t what you think it looks like. It’s not romantic dates and holding hands.
“I love you” is taking care of someone when they’re blackout drunk and throwing up
“I love you” is popping back pimples and still kissing through the runny noses winter brings
“I love you” is drooling during sex and laughing together
“I love you” is being held while violently sobbing because of an anxiety attack
“I love you” is discussing what your morning breath smells like with each other
“I love you” is “I don’t want to but I will for you and only you.”
It’s all the good and the bad and the gross and the beautiful and ugly things about life and embracing that in each other.

As for the United States, we did not call it ‘the World’ for nothing; it might as well have been on another planet. There was nothing familiar out where we were, no churches, no police, no laws, no newspapers, or any of t he restraining influences without which the earth’s population of virtuous people would by reduced by ninety-five percent. It was the dawn of creation in the Indochina bush, an ethical as well as a geographical wilderness. Out there, lacking restraints, sanctioned to kill, confronted by a hostile country and a relentless enemy, we sank into a brutish state. The descent could be checked only by the net of a man’s inner moral values, the attribute that is called character…

Most American soldiers in Vietnam - at least the ones I knew - could not be divided into good men and bad. Each possessed roughly equal measures of both qualities. I saw men who behaved with great compassion toward the Vietnamese one day and then burned down a village the next. They were, as Kipling wrote of his Tommy Atkins, neither saints 'nor blackguards too/But single men in barricks more remarkable like you.’ That may be why Americans reacted with such horror to the disclosures of US atrocities while ignoring those of the other side: the American soldier was a reflection of themselves.
—  Philip Caputo, USMC veteran, written in 1977
‘Boy, you sure get offered some shitty choices,’ a Marine once said to me, and I couldn’t help but feel that what he really meant was that you didn’t get offered any at all. Specifically, he was just talking about a couple of C-ration cans, 'dinner,’ but considering his young life you couldn’t blame him for thinking that if he knew one thing for sure, it was that there was no one anywhere who cared less about what he wanted. There wasn’t anybody he wanted to thank for his food, but he was grateful that he was still alive to eat it, that the mother-fucker hadn’t scared him up first. He hadn’t been anything but tired and scared for six months and he’d lost a lot, mostly people, and seen far too much, but he was breathing in and breathing out, some kind of choice all by itself.
—  Michael Herr in his book Dispatches
The VC did win, you know. They had it all the time. We were just visiting. The Americans would go gung ho. The Vietnamese philosophy was ‘Hey, we’re going to sit back. You go in and do your thing, but we’re not going to play this hero stuff. We have to live.’ It was hard trying to teach that to some of the young people that would be coming in, the green troops. 'Don’t go looking for booby traps, don’t go trying to be a hero, because all you’re going to do is get killed. And nobody gives a damn once you die. Life still keeps going.’
—  Luiz Martinez, USMC Combined Action Platoon team commander
I am sorry I have hurt you. But if I thought I was needed at home more than here, I would come home. Things are going well at home. So where do I belong? This is an unusual time in our nation’s history. The unrest around the world is paralleled only a handful of times in history. Young men are asking questions–hard questions. Much of the focus of the entire world is on Vietnam, The incompetency and the wrongs committed in Vietnam are staggering. But through it all I see a little light. Some men choose to fight on the streets. Some choose to fight in the universities. Some choose to fight in the parliaments. My choice is between two options–fight in Vietnam or shut up. I choose Vietnam. If I am to contribute, it must be Vietnam. And when I get home, you too will see that little light.
—  Rodney R. Chastant, in a letter home to his mother. He served as a captain with Marine Air Group 13, 1st Marine Air Wing. He was KIA 22OCT1968 at age 25.