"I don't make hell for nobody. I'm only the instrument of a laughing providence. Sometimes I don't like it myself, but I couldn't help it if I was born smart."
1st Sgt. Milton Anthony Warden.
"From here to Eternity"
1st Sgt. Milton Anthony Warden.
"From here to Eternity"
"You are in love with intelligence, until it frightens you. For your ideas are terrifying and your hearts are faint. Your acts of pity and cruelty are absurd, committed with no calm, as if they were irresistible. Finally, you fear blood more and more. Blood and time."
The Wisdom of the Ages
"When a young man, I read somewhere the following: God the Almighty said, 'All that is too complex is unnecessary, and it is simple that is needed',"
Saturday, June 27, 2009
Devil Dogs and Bulldogs
We all know this guy. To the left.
He's the Mack Bulldog.
We know the bulldog to the right as well and the two may or may not be related.
Let me state, first off, I was programed, at an early age, to have a problem with Marines.
First off, my Dad found their relentless self-promotion grating. Also, author and Guadalcanal veteran, James Jones ("The Thin Red Line" "From Here to Eternity") was at some pains to point out that the majority of amphibious assaults in the Pacific war were Army operations - and that, from Nov. 1942 on, the fight on "The 'Canal" was almost exclusively Army as well.
Myownself, the day after my arrival in San Diego (Boot Camp), we were told that all the urinals on the base pointed to the Marine Recruit Depot next door. The speaker (I later found was exactly two weeks senior to my sorry, recruit ass) added that the implied motto was "Piss on the Marines". We needed to have it clarified. We were rather dim.
All this is obviously horseshit, of course. But, we did enjoy one of the folktales:
AWOL's that mistakenly climbed the fence into the Marine base were kept for a week or so, being treated gently no doubt, then thrown back over the fence. This has as much credibility as the urinal story but it shows the climate.
In actuality, we'd sit outside the barracks shining our shoes, eating candy bars (I've never eaten so much candy) and watching those poor SOB's next door running 'round and round that dirt track.
Out of boot camp, I found out almost immediately that the Jarheads were just guys. Generally, friendly (I'm ashamed to say - that caught me by surprise) and, if they'd survived boot camp and a few months after, were as solid and trustworthy as anyone I've ever run across - and I ain't easy to please.
Anyway, the USMC is the smallest of the armed services so a little macho compensation is certainly understandable.
Besides, they've had no shortage of ass-kickers.
What's this guy got around his neck? Two... two Congressional Medals of Honor?
Meet Daniel (ya' gotta love that name) Joseph Daley
He's one of a total of 19 men, service wide and two Marines to have earned that honor.
The first was awarded for action in China - when he was a private.
My internal, congenital NCO is always more impressed by decorated enlisted guys. Officers "know" too many people.
As a Gunnery Sergeant, he received his second in 1915, Haiti.
Three years later, June 5, 1918, at Belleau Wood he gained my undying admiration.
Always a sucker for a great line (I like show-tunes too), I've remembered the good GySgt, since before I even knew who he was, for his famous rallying cry:
"Come on, you sons of bitches. Do you want to live forever?"
Might have been something in the air, It was a time for memorable utterances:
Two days earlier Marine Captain Lloyd W. Williams of the 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines responded to French advice to retreat,
"Retreat? Hell, we just got here."
Anyway, back to the poster at top; At Belleau Wood, the USMC earned the nickname of Teufel Hunden,"Hounds from Hell" (loosely translated)
Not many dogs look more bad-assed than an English Bulldog although the poster may have had a different slant if the pickelhaube had been worn by a rottweiler or a doberman rather than the wiener dog.
To the victors go the cool imagery I guess.
Both these symbolic dogs owe their existence to that pesky nuisance of a war that, at least, left the world "safe for democracy".
The dog on the hood is explained below.
The famous AC model was introduced in 1916. With its chain drive rear axle, the AC model earned an unparalleled reputation for reliability and durability, and was called on to help accomplish nearly impossible military and civilian tasks. The AC model was manufactured continuously through 1939 -- a remarkable 24 years, and 40,299 were built.
During World War I, Mack delivered approximately 4,500 AC model trucks of 3-1/2, 5-1/2, and 7-1/2 ton capacity to the US government. During that same period, Mack delivered over 2,000 units to Great Britain. These trucks did an outstanding job under very difficult conditions.
The story goes that the British soldiers ("Tommies") would call out when facing a difficult truck problem, "Aye, send in the Mack Bulldogs!" The primary, and generally universal, story is that the British engineers testing AC's and the Tommys in France said that "the Mack AC's have the tenacity of a bulldog." At that time, the symbol of Great Britain was the bulldog, and this was high praise for the trucks. American "Doughboys" expressed the same opinion of the truck."
From Mack's company history.
To the left, a Mack AC, hauling the Mount Wilson Observatory's 100 inch mirror to its home, 1917.
The Mack AC is the Mack Bulldog
The truck story is a good one as well. Not nearly as good as Dan Daley's but it's a truck for Christ's sake.
Besides, only in production for 24 years. DDDD was a thirty-year man.
For my money, the Garford , with its chasing-a-brick-wall-and-caught-it, visual appeal, looks more like a bulldog to me but the lads didn't have them in France.
To close, as I've got other things I need to write, an oddly ironic photo.
A postwar Mack hauling a Renault FT17 - or an American M1917, a Yank improvement on the French tank, too late to be of combat use.
The irony? Mack was absorbed (as I recall) by Renault in the '80's. They belong to Volvo now so it's all good...
And, the distinctive, Bulldog hood with the rear-mounted radiator...