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Heroes and Cowards

I've been blessed with great role models. At my dad's garage, one of the mechanics served in Italy during WWII. He was of Italian descent, and the Army used him to translate for the Italian prisoners. "Pete" was a tough, often profane man with a heart of gold. I'm sure he saw some real nasty stuff during the advance up "The Boot". He didn't talk about it much. 'Cept his bragging about conquests involving the Italian ladies.
"Bob" was a Korean War vet. He helped evacuate the Marines from Chosin Reservoir. He talked about the Chinese shelling the roads as he drove his jeep back and forth from the port to the hills. Bob liked to read yacht magazines and nap during our night shifts. He earned his rest.

That was "The Greatest Generation". They're gone now.

Today, we have Captains that kill people through negligence, then abandon ship at first trouble. A few years ago, it was that Italian Skipper. Only a few died under his "leadership". Now, we have that Korean "captain" that leaves a bunch of school kids to die.

What happened?

I never worked with any Italians, but all the Koreans I've known have been great people. As a matter of fact, The ROK (Republic of Korea) Marines are one of the few allies I'd request to fight in combat with.
I don't think it's a national or cultural issue. It's the times we live in. Cowardice no longer has the stigma it used to. It should. When I think of the bravery of average guys like Pete and Bob, I'm disgusted by those with higher responsibility that fail through moral weakness.

In the USMC, they always taught us that every Marine was a leader. Now, I look around, and it seems like those masquerading as leaders have cheapened the concept. God help us all.

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Winston
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