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Huzzah! Huzzah! HUZZAHHH!

In the 18th and early 19th centuries, three "huzzahs" were given by British infantry before a charge, as a way of building morale and intimidating the enemy. The book "Redcoat" by Richard Holmes indicates that this was given as two short 'huzzahs' followed by a third sustained one as the charge was carried out.

Defend Our Marines headline, June 4, 2008: “Verdict in the Lt Grayson trial---NOT GUILTY ON ALL COUNTS!”

 

Huzzah!

I feel one of the striking impressions of the Haditha case is the lack of leadership demonstrated by the Marine General Officers. One of the principles of leadership is to know your Marines and it is apparent that the generals didn’t know Lt Grayson.

For the Haditha generals to not know their Marines is an unforgivable sin and for this reason I believe they deserve their current embarrassment. When six out of eight legal proceedings end with charges dismissed and a not-guilty verdict, that is a pretty good indicator that the charges were brought for political reasons. Frankly, the generals should know better then to use “smoke and mirrors”.

Most descriptions of Lt Grayson speak of his abilities as an exceptional Marine Officer. I never met or served with the lieutenant but I honestly felt I understood him as a Marine because I have seen many like him.

In my opinion, Lt Grayson is not exceptional but he is typical of the majority of Marines. For young Marines, and especially lieutenants, exceptional is expected and delivered as a matter of routine. In other words, exceptional Marine Lieutenants are SOP (standard operating procedure). Lt Grayson saw his legal issues as a matter of honor and I would argue that is typical of most Marines. What is not typical, is for the Marine Corps senior leadership to forget these values that are instilled in our Marines.

The selection of Marines is never an easy process. For example, if you could poll of a typical high school senior class of maybe 200 to 300 seniors with the question, Do you want to be a United States Marine? Most Marine recruiters will tell you not to expect more than one or maybe two positive answers. Generally speaking, in order to get one of these seniors to make the huge step of getting on the boot camp bus, six to ten other committed seniors will most likely be disqualified for an abundance of reasons. Standard Marine boot camp attrition is 12 to 15%. OCS (Officer Candidate School) attrition can be as high as 50% per class. In the slogan “The Few, the Proud, the Marines”, I think all citizens, Marines and their relatives understand the “Few” part.

Not everyone wants to be a Marine, but the few that do, demonstrate that they possess that kernel of courage, honor and pride that Marine training grows and forges so effectively. Lt Grayson is typical but only from a Marine perspective. A few years back, my wife and I went to see the movie, “A Few Good Men”. In that movie, Demi Moore spoke a warning to Tom Cruise’s character that, “The Marines at Gitmo are fanatical”. My wife giggled when she heard that line and when I asked why she thought it was funny she stated: “The Marines at Gitmo are not fanatical; you’re all fanatical. You can’t be a Marine and do the things you do, unless your are a fanatic.”  As a Marine, I understood what my wife was saying. Yes, Marines are fanatics; we are fanatics about pride, courage, honor and we believe with our souls that these traits are not only essential in combat but also make us the best warriors this country has to offer. (I can’t help but think that those same thoughts motivated LtCol Chessani when he made his famous “My Marines are not murders” statement.) Lt Grayson’s courage was instilled by his parents, forge by his Marine training and honed in combat on the Haditha battle field. For these reasons, the associated Haditha generals should have know that Lieutenant Grayson would demonstrate the courage to defeat the legal wranglings and “smoke” of lawyers and political maneuvering and “mirrors” of the HQMC Administrative Command Authority.

For Lt Grayson’s honor and courage, because he did the right thing, in the right way, for the right reason; Lt Grayson, his defense team and his supporters just shouted the second … 

Huzzah!

We are now faced with the final two cases: LtCol Jeffrey Chessani and SSgt Frank Wuterich. As hard as the six preceding cases have been, I believe these final two are the main event for the Haditha matter and will be the hardest for the defense to crack. If the Haditha incident is going to be put to rest, these two cases have to be won by the defense. Let us all remember there are two more cases to go and these two Marines and especially their families will need all the support we can provide.

By the way, after giving the order to fix bayonets, I also believe that the Chessani and Wuterich defense teams have the prosecution and the Marine General Officers ears ringing with the third shout of …

HUZZAHHH!

 

Bob Weimann
LtCol USMC Ret
Former Commander Kilo Company 3/1

6 June 2008

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Read more by Bob Weimann: 

The Sins of Generals: An open letter to General Michael Hagee, Commandant of the Marines Corps (2003-2006), October 11, 2008.

The Case for a Squad Leader: SSgt Frank Wuterich in Haditha, July 25, 2008.

Open Letter to the Commandant of the United States Marine Corps concerning the 3/1 Haditha Marines, February 8, 2008.

Strategic Legalism, December 31, 2011.

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