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Once a Marine, Always a Marine...

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  • Once a Marine, Always a Marine...

    Top Marine commando: Corps good at small wars

    By Kevin Maurer - The Associated Press
    Posted : Friday Oct 24, 2008 17:17:09 EDT

    CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. — The Marines may have the newest special operations branch in the U.S. military, but a long history of fighting small wars and insurgencies makes them a natural fit for the world of commandos, the unit’s commander told the Associated Press on Thursday.
    “We as Marines grow up doing small wars. We are very comfortable in the third world. In poorly governed or ungoverned parts of the globe,” said Maj. Gen. Mastin M. Robeson, commanding general of Marines Corps Special Operations Command.
    MarSOC, numbering 2,100 Marines, was established in February 2006 as the service’s counterpart to the Navy SEALS, Air Force Air Comandos and Army Green Berets that provides a “a sea-based special operations force” to commanders. MarSOC also increased the number of special operators at a time when the units are in demand.
    Since then, MarSOC Marines have continuously deployed to Afghanistan, Latin America and Africa. Robeson said the Marines have performed well. MarSOC Marines been awarded one Bronze Star for valor at least 34 Purple Hearts and more than 137 combat action ribbons.
    But being new to special operations, the unit is still earning its stripes.
    “The new guy on the block doesn’t always step in and receive the credibility and recognition regardless of how talented they are,” Robeson said. “It takes time to build relationship bridges and to demonstrate your capability is indeed your credibility.”
    Robeson, a native of Rosman, is the second commander of the MarSOC. He was commissiond in 1975 and has been a rifle and weapons platoon leader, commanded the Fleet AntiTerrorism Security Team and the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa. His combat experience includes service in Liberia, Desert Storm, Somalia, Bosnia, the Horn of Africa, the southern Philippines, and Iraq.
    He spoke for about 30 minutes in his office at Camp Lejeune. It was his first interview since taking the reins from Maj. Gen. Dennis J. Hejlik, the command’s first commander, in July.
    “General Hejlik built the sports car and I get to drive it,” Robeson said. “It is an incredible organization that has been put together here.”
    MarSOC includes the Marine Special Operations Advisor Group, two Marine Special Operations Battalions, the Marine Special Operations Support Group and the Marine Special Operations School.
    In other services, the special operations units embrace a drastically different mindset and culture than conventional forces. No one would mistake a Green Beret for a conventional soldier or a SEAL for a sailor because of the units often wear different uniforms and are segregated from conventional units. But Robeson said Marine culture is a major asset his unit brings to the special operations community of highly trained, often secretive forces.
    “We don’t want to look like, smell like, taste like, Special Forces or SEALs,” Robeson said. “We want to be Marines. When you talk to a Marine special operator and say who are you, I want the first words out of his mouth to be ‘I’m a Marine.”’
    Robeson pointed to Presley O’Bannon — a Marine officer who led 300 irregulars and seven Marines against the Barbary pirates in 1805 — as an example. Robeson said what O’Bannon did wasn’t much different than what Special Forces did with the Northern Alliance at the start of the war in Afghanistan.

    ...And shephards we shall be. For thee my lord, for thee. Power hath descended forth from thy hand. That our feet may swiftly carry out thy command. So we shall flow a river forth to thee. And teeming with souls shall it ever be. E Nomini Patri, E Fili, E Spiritu Sancti.

  • #2
    USMC Silver Star Winner's New Book Trailer


    Below is a link to a Hollywood-style book trailer on for "Once a Marine: An Iraq War Tank Commander's Inspirational Memoir of Combat, Courage, and Recovery," by Nick Popaditch with Mike Steere (Savas Beatie, October 1, 2008).

    YouTube - Once a Marine Book Trailer, by Nick Popaditch & Mike Steere

    Make sure you watch to the very end for a "special" photo message from "Gunny Pop" Nick. I know you will appreciate seeing him.

    Nick "Gunny Pop" Popaditch is a former marine Gunnery Sergeant, a Silver Star winner, a 15-year veteran of the USMC, and was widely known around the world as "The Cigar Marine:" (Google it.). His tanks captured Firdos "Saddam" square in April 2003 and pulled down the hated statue. Nick was severely wounded one year later with an RPG to the head, which was captured live by a media news crew. He had to fight his way through an incredible odyssey of turmoil, heartbreak, and bureaucracy to recover everything he had lost. His website is Once a Marine: An Iraq War Tank Commander's Inspirational Memoir of Combat, Courage, and Recovery.

    PLEASE NOTE this YouTube trailer is the LOW-resolution version. The high-resolution trailer (with full credits, etc.) will be streaming off a variety of websites including Savas Beatie, LLC - Home, and can be opened to full screen to fully appreciate the ending credits and power of the imagery. It will also be available for free high-resolution download, and is TV quality!

    If you know anyone in the media who you think would be interested in interviewing "Gunny Pop," don't hesitate to call or email them and let them know.

    We appreciate your support of Nick and his family in any way you are able. The success of this book will open doors for this blind warrior, and hopefully provide revenue and success to someone who has sacrificed so much for his country.

    Thank you.

    Tammy Hall
    Sacramento, California


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