BLACKFOOTThe Marine Corps birthday is coming up and the celebration in Pocatello at the Clarion Inn should be special for many Marines, as one says "There is no former Marines." as well as other branches of the military. During some research for the upcoming birthday, there were a few battles that kept coming up, past and present.

In France, 1918, the Battle of Belleau Wood was considered one of the most brutal battles fought in a World War. The Marines fought across a wheat field into German mar chine gun fire. Casualties were high but yet the Marines continued to advance making sure they took the forest. Sergent Dan Daley, two time medal of honor recipient, stated the iconic phrase "Come on, you sons of bitches, do you want to live forever?" This spurred the men to continue onward. During the three week battle, the US and German forces took the forest back and forth six times, while often fighting hand to hand with German soldiers behind trees. They finally succeeded in clearing the forest which turned the tides of the war. The Marines showed they would stop at nothing less than victory, even at a steep price. This was where the Marines gained their nickname "Teufel Hunden" from the Germans, which means Devil Dogs.

The Battle of Fallujah is one of the more recent battles called, "the biggest urban battle since the battle of Hue city in Vietnam." During the early days of Operation Iraqi Freedom, numerous forces tried to secure the city and tried to bring in a sense of order. This did not happen. It quickly became a battle ground for numerous enemy fighters. Marines were called to start taking over the city in 2004 and because of the political issues there was a quick pull out. There was a try again later in the year. The joint task force was with the Marines, British and Iraqi offense against the insurgence forces.

Finally, three days into the second battle there was a major defense being pushed from both sides. In one account there was an entire machine gun squad that was helping pull security, and mortars began raining down on their heads, "Once the smoke started to clear, only two of us were what remained of a seven-man machine gun squad." 

Marines of the third battalion 1st Marines, went from house to house fighting from door to door. At each door, the firefights seemed unending. "It seemed as if everyone was wounded from enemy small arms fire and indirect fire, like RPGs and mortars. Still we continued the fight, clearing houses of multiple enemy combatants." They even leveled some blocks with Bangalore, a type of explosive device. This battle happened during the Marine Corps birthday. Many of the men in battle felt they were honoring the Marine Corps by doing what marines to best. They were battling for freedom. 

Southeast Idaho loves their Marines. Some of the comments were this: "I love the corps. I am still in touch with some of my brothers I served with. My son has ambitions of serving. My grandfather served in WWII. I have a family full of hard charging ground pounders, both in the Corp and Army." "I love being a Marine. Four years active duty, one year in the reserves. I learned a lot and made some life long friends. The only thing I'd change about my time in the Corps would be not have flaked out after my divorce and went ahead and changed my MOS and stayed in another four years." "Both of my older son's and my nephew served in the Marines. My older served in the Army.  My ex-husband served in Vietnam and the two older boys served in Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi. Never have I been prouder of four men than to see them standing at attention and saluting our flag. Never was I happier then to see them walk down the steps, safely home, and in the arms of the people who love them. We are the land of the free and the home of the brave. I wish all people of the world could know just a few of the freedoms my men fought for. Hoorah!!!" "My dad was a Marine and was one of the first on Iwo Jima beaches. As an 18 year-old he watched most of his battalion die and stepped up to lead the survivors until they could meet up with another battalion to join. He often said those were the years when he grew up, learned the value of hard work, friendship and belief in God who was by his side. He left the military with a Purple Heart." "My fathers life was guided and shaped  by the USMC. He was one of the frozen chosen. How he was raised and how he turned out was very different." 

The Marine Corps birthday has ended, but the entire month of November is where one honors the veterans who have worked to keep our country free. Nic Transtrum, who was the speaker for Blackfoot High School, stated to "live a life worth fighting for."

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