In response to the latest Marine Corps Times article: Don’t call me ‘POG’: The push to end the Corps’ most damaging divide.
The key issue here is not POG vs. Grunt. It is combat veterans vs. non-combat veterans. The majority of 03 Marines will look at anyone who holds a CAR and consider them proven and worthy, no matter there MOS. The major problem is that many key leaders in the Marine Corps have no combat service and they are driving the divide between combat roles and support roles. Marines are trained to fight and win; going out and obtaining a Combat Action Ribbon (which is the ONLY personal award in the Marine Corps that is not a medal) is similar to an athlete getting Gold at the Olympics. Do not blame the 03 community for being proud, do not blame them for doing their jobs and being awarded for it.
The 03 community has approximately 30,000 Marines out of a total force of approximately 194,000. That means roughly 15% of the Marine Corps is made up of the 03 community. The entire rest of the Marine Corps falls into support roles. They account for a small and very elite group of men. In comparison, the U.S. Special Operations Command has over 66,000 personnel.
Lets look at this from another angle. What percentage of Marines have earned a Combat Action Ribbon? Approximately 10% of the Marine Corps has a Combat Action Ribbon. The majority, being from the 03 community.
The Marine Corps is a warfighting organization and the backbone of the Corps is it’s 03 Marines. So why keep kicking them to the side and telling them they have not earned their place on the pedestal? Was it cooks who planted the American flag on Suribachi? Was it mechanics who cleared Hue? Was it admins who fought through Fallujah?
Chesty was an Infantry Officer. John Basilone was an Infantry Machine Gunner. James Mattis was an Infantry Officer. Dan Daly, Smedley Butler, Peter Pace, all from the 03 community. The majority of Marine MOH and Navy Cross recipients are from the 03 community, including both recent recipients Dakota Meyer and Kyle Carpenter.
Lets continue to pride ourselves on our history and never forget that it was the 03’s who made it. However, regardless of MOS, Marines who have earned a Combat Action Ribbon should be placed higher than those who have not yet proven themselves within our elite warfighting organization. These are our true leaders and the future of the Marine Corps. It wasn’t the new photo copier at IPAC, but the flag raising on Iwo Jima that meant “a Marine Corps for the next five hundred years.”
*Note, I am not saying that a Combat Action Ribbon makes you a Marine, the Eagle, Globe, and Anchor does that. But, obtaining a Combat Action Ribbon certifies that you have participated in the most magnificent competition in which a human being can indulge. Many of you disagree, and believe that the purpose of Marines is not to fight in battles…. Do you really believe that? Lastly, Marines with Combat Action Ribbons are better leaders. Would you rather have Lance Armstrong teach you how to ride a bike or someone who has never ridden a bike in their life? No shit. Combat decorated Marines are far greater qualified to lead and train Marines in and for combat.
Hate us cause they ain’t us.