Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Once upon a time

Say a prayer for .... presumably, behind this group of huddled Marines, a Navy corpsman is working on the wounded Marine mostly hidden by his huddled buddies. No doubt, each Marine in the group is saying a prayer for his comrade in arms. The photograph came from the Second Battle of Fallujah during Operation Phantom Fury in Iraq. The United States military called it the heaviest urban combat for the Marine Corps since the Battle of Hue City in Vietnam in 1968. Both battles now are part of Marine Corps legend and lore ....

Just another anniversary for me

Today -- January 24 -- is my Marine Corps anniversary. It is the day I signed on the dotted line with the Corps.
The enlistment ceremony took place in the room of a hotel which no longer exists. A captain swore me in while a gunnery sergeant witnessed. Also present was a high school buddy who had unexpectedly shown up on his way to Navy boot camp at Naval Station Great Lakes in Illinois. I recall that day every time it rolls by on the calendar and, periodically, I make note of it in a post. Today is one of those times.

There was nothing remarkable about my days in the Corps. Memories of it always fill me with pride and sometimes make me shudder. As I occasionally say, there were good times and there were bad times, but, all-in-all, it was a beneficial experience and I am glad I did it.

There have been some Marines whose exploits bring shame and dishonor to the Corps and to themselves. Lee Harvey Oswald was one. There have been some Marines whose exploits bring both glory and honor to the Corps and to themselves as individuals. William Kyle Carpenter is among them. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for throwing himself on a grenade in Marjah, Helmand Province, Afghanistan, to save the life of another trooper in 2010.

Carpenter survived, but his recovery took a few years and countless operations and resolve/courage which seem to have reached super-human proportions. He was medically retired from the Marine Corps because of the severity of his wounds. He returned to his home in Flowood, South Carolina, and has since received a degree in international studies from the University of South Carolina. Rather than try to tell Carpenter's story, there are two videos here to accomplish that task.

I had the privilege of meeting one Medal of Honor recipient: Richard Keith Sorenson was born in Anoka, Minnesota, in 1924. He enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1942 and was one of twenty-seven Marines who threw themselves on grenades during World War II. Only Sorenson and three others survived the experience. His act took place during the Battle of Namur Island, Kwajalein Atoll, Marshall Islands, in 1944.

Unlike Carpenter, Sorenson was able to remain in the Corps, spent a couple years as a civilian after the war, then rejoined and eventually became an officer. He died at age eighty in 2004.

Well, enough of that. I hope you will take a few minutes to watch the videos about Kyle Carpenter. He truly is a remarkable young man and a hell of a Marine.

Semper Fi, baby ....


Kaya said...

That is a powerful and very emotional photograph, Fram.
And your words are also very powerful and emotional.

I read your post and thought that you are the only Marine I have met in my life.

Then I thought what does it mean to be a Marine?

You served in the harshest of situations and you should be very proud of yourself.

You earned being a Marine. You know what it means. We might read your posts, admire what you went through and hope that we somehow understand it but we will not understand it fully. Only Marines do.

I am joining you to celebrate the day when you joined the Marine Corps.

You wrote that "there was nothing remarkable about my days in Corps". I disagree with you. Every day was remarkable because it's an honor to be a Marine.

Anita said...

Very nice post Fram. I do not need to say something.Kaya says it all.

I hope soon all wars will end.

Take care Fram.I am proud of you


Smareis said...

Boa noite Fram!
Acho que cheguei a tempo para comemorar com você esse Dia que deve ter sido bem especial para você. Uma foto bonita que deve ter muito significado. Gostei muito de assistir os vídeos. Pelo que senti te lendo você tinha muito orgulho que servir seu país. Ser um Fuzileiro Naval é o sonho de milhares de jovens quando completa 18 anos. Afinal, é uma honra incalculável poder defender o país e fazer parte da elite das Forças Armadas, mas precisa gostar muito para seguir essa carreira.

Acredito que você gostava muito de fazer parte do Corpo de fuzileiro naval do seu País. Claro que esse Dia foi e é importante para você Fram. Você é muito respeitável para o seu País. Cada momento que passou no Corpo foi um aprendizado, sendo bom ou ruim, foi uma experiência que lhe trouxe muitos benéficos, sem falar as tantas lembranças boas que você pode recordar desse tempo no Corpo.
Estou orgulhosa de você Fram, e feliz por ter conhecido um grande Fuzileiro Naval da Forças Armadas do EUA.
Gostei muito de passar hoje aqui e ler sua postagem. Desculpa pela minha ausência no seu blog.

Estou sem atualização ainda no meu blog, mais vou fazer uma atualização por esses dias por lá.

Desejo tudo de bom para você Fram. Que 2018 seja um ano de muitas alegrias pra você.
Continuação de boa semana.
Envio um punhado de sorrisos Fram!
Se cuida!

Fram Actual said...

I am not sure what to write in response to your comment, Kaya ....

Everything about the military is powerful and emotional, especially to a teenage boy growing up in a small town in Minnesota, a rural community where guns and hunting were part of the culture; living next door to an American Legion hall, where Memorial Day and Veterans Day and Independence Day were religiously observed; having ancestors who had fought in every war since the American Civil War, where "Gold Star" mothers were among family members .... I was bound to get myself mixed up in it one way or another, and a few random events put me in the Marine Corps when I was eighteen.

I think most, if not all, who join the Marine Corps do it because they want to prove something to themselves or to others or, probably, both to themselves and to others -- to discover if they are among the truly tough or one of the phony tough.

It is possible I am the first Marine you have met, but because of the Persian Gulf War in 1991 and the almost constant state of conflict involving the United States since then, there possibly are more Marines running around now than ever before. I have three others in my own family. You might even have a few living in close proximity to you.

Just as in any and every aspect of life, you will find Marines come in all shapes, sizes, colors, levels of education, religions and personality types. Most are willing to give their lives for their country and for the trooper who stands next to them -- perhaps, that is what makes the difference. Many have pride which borders on arrogance, but many also are modest and humble. Generally, the tougher the challenge, the more they like it.

Thank you, Kaya, for your kind words. As for me, I think I have written enough for the moment ....

Fram Actual said...

Thank you, Anita, for your presence and for your kind words.

I am sure beyond sure that wars will continue ad infinitum. In a Biblical sense, I think the first war was between Cain and Abel -- the sons of Adam and Eve -- and, if brothers can hate and kill, the future is not hopeful for the rest of us. But, as the poet Alexander Pope wrote: "Hope springs eternal in the human breast ...."

Yes, I will take care, and I thank you more than I can say for being proud of me.

You, too, Anita .... take care and be well ....

Fram Actual said...

It is important to me that you have spent time here today with me, Smareis, and I thank you for that. I am glad you enjoyed the photograph, the videos and my words .... I miss your visits, of course, but do not feel badly about being unable to be here for every post. I do look forward to reading more of your words, so I hope you will write more soon and more often during this year just under way.

In a general sense, all that you say about the Marine Corps and about my time being a part of it are true. In many respects, the Corps is the best of the best .... in many ways, those who are Marines are the best of the best. More of my memories are pleasant than are unpleasant, and I truly did learn much about life and living, about what is important and what is trivial .... and, mostly, I learned who I am and what I am and how to see myself, clearly, to my inner core.

I titled this post, "Just another anniversary for me." Obviously, it is much more than that to me. Other than family matters, it is among the two or three most important elements of my life.

I thank you for your smile and for your wish for the best for me, Smareis, and I cannot express how pleased I am that you are proud of me.

You, too, Smareis .... I wish the best for you and for those you love .... take care and stay safe ....

its_me_in_montana said...

Thank you for your service to our Country. Thank you also for sharing William's heroic story. We need more heroes these days.

Fram Actual said...

A "thank you" is appreciated, Boni, but hardly necessary. I am part of a community which thinks of military service as one of the steps along the way to becoming a "well-rounded" individual. In reality, it was just that, too -- at least, I like to think of it that way.

Yes, William Kyle Carpenter is a Marine's Marine and a true hero. Like one of the doctors said:

"He is beautiful, absolutely beautiful. He is kind. He is loving. He is a gentle spirit, just a great guy .... If there's anybody in this world who will represent that Medal of Honor in the best possible way, that would be Kyle Carpenter ...."

Thank you, Boni, for your presence and for your comment. It is nice to see you out and about again ....

Marina Fligueira said...

Hello Fram!!

That happens in wars, and happens anywhere in the world, now seems that life has no value, not given the importance, we are so accustomed to seeing the death closely... And daily on television that already one more no matter what! The world is crazy, drunk of selfishness.
Why allow weapons weapons business because that money glory. Congratulations on your anniversary in the marine, thank goodness I'm not... I am glad that you have been able to count it, others stayed on the path. I leave you a hug and my gratitude and esteem.
Is very - very happy.
¡Hola Fram!!!

Eso pasa en las guerras, y pasa en cualquier lugar del mudo, ya parece que la vida no tiene valor, no se le da la importancia, estamos tan acostumbrados a ver la muerte de cerca… Y a diario en las televisiones que ya uno más no importa! El mundo está loco, borracho de egoísmo. Por eso consienten fabricar armas negocios armamentísticos porque eso gloria de dinero.

Felicidades por tu aniversario en la infantería de la Marina, menos mal que no soy yo… Me alegra que hayas podido contarlo, otros se quedaron por el camino.

Te dejo un abrazo y mi gratitud y estima.
Se muy -muy feliz.

Fram Actual said...

Life is very complicated, I think .... actually, I know, and initially determining what is right and what is wrong often is dictated by place of birth. Education is one of the keys to unlocking equally and fairness, but, genetically, humankind may be doomed never to reach that level.

People like to talk about how we are all alike, but the simple fact is that we are not. Science is demonstrating that in a hereditary sense we came from different branches of the evolutionary tree, and even brothers and sisters have gene variations. It seems logical, therefore, that there always will be disagreements and arguments about political systems and religions, for instance, and about the role of the military.

As I say, I am glad I went with the Marine Corps for a while. I learned a great deal, and I think it made a better person of me than I otherwise would have been.

Thank you, Marina, for coming here and for writing a comment for me.

Liplatus said...

An impressive picture.

War experiences never disappear from memory.

Unfortunately, people always find reasons why wars.
No war ends.
I hope for a peaceful life.

Fram Actual said...

War, by its nature, produces one impressive scene after another. Most are not captured by a camera, but a few are, such as this one. It shows a moment no one present among those who survive ever will be able to erase from his memory. It is as you wrote, Liplatus: "War experiences never disappear from memory."

Those, in a sense, who never experience war are fortunate. In another sense, war is the ultimate classroom for self-discovery and for learning the difference between what truly is important and what only appears to be important.

I also hope for a peaceful life -- for me, for you, for all people, for all creatures ....

Thank you, Liplatus, for coming and for writing a comment .... it is always a pleasure to discover you have been here ....

Something special ....