…is not what I have been up to.
Being a living barrier against the forces of evil doesn’t necessarily mean said forces will actually test the barrier. It does require the barrier to be there, not only to give those with bad intentions second thoughts but to reassure those within the barrier that it will not fold like a cardboard box when the wolf comes.
Back in the old Corps as an embassy guard we were taught to always be firm, courteous and tactful. We were also taught about the continuum of force. On the extreme end of the continuum you have the use of deadly force. On the near end is what we call “presence.” Many times merely being present is enough to convince evil doers their master plan may not survive first contact with the World’s Finest.
They told (us) to open up the Embassy, or “we’ll blow you away.” And then they looked up and saw the Marines on the roof with these really big guns, and they said in Somali, “Igaralli ahow,” which means “Excuse me, I didn’t mean it, my mistake”.
Karen Aquilar, in the U.S. Embassy; Mogadishu, Somalia, 1991
Although I would love to be able to tell you what has been keeping me busy lately involves an abundance of swashbuckling, pirate chasing, and high seas adventure, it more resembles a junkyard dog wishing someone would jump the fence so he could take a big wet bite out of them.
Lying offshore, ready to act, the presence of ships and Marines sometimes means much more than just having air power or ship’s fire, when it comes to deterring a crisis. And the ships and Marines may not have to do anything but lie offshore. It is hard to lie offshore with a C-141 or C-130 full of airborne troops.
Gen. Colin Powell, U. S. Army
Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff
During Operation Desert Storm
I have often explained to my Marines there will be two different responses from people when we touch down in any given part of the world.
Good Guys: “Thank God! It’s the Marines!”
Bad Guys: “Awww crap! It’s the Marines! Let’s go hold up a liquor store instead.”
Although what we are doing at the moment isn’t clandestine by any means I am not at liberty to run my mouth about it either. Suffice it to say there are a whole lot of people who feel more comfortable when FAST Company is standing by to do violence on their behalf, or not. We’re like a big security blanket keeping monsters firmly under the bed where they cannot devour children.
So sleep peaceably, the Marines are on deck, the situation is well in hand.
United States Marine Corps: America’s Woobie