Thoughts from the ammo line

What Ammo Grrrll sees is NOT YOUR DADDY’S MILITARY (OR YOUR MOTHER’S EITHER). She writes:

A couple of weeks ago, I saw a link to an invidious comparison between the military recruitment videos for North Korea, China, Russia – and the United States. Now I have seen many pretty effective U.S. recruitment videos or billboards in the past, particularly for the United States Marine Corps. “The Few. The Proud. The Marines.” Looking squared away and sharp in their beautiful dress uniforms.

And I recall another one for the Army with the slogan, “We do more before 9 a.m. than most people do all day.” I remember that one because a late Minnesota comedian, Scott Hansen, asked in his act, “Is that really the way to appeal to teenage boys?” As the mother at the time of three teenage boys who got up at the crack of noon, that line made me laugh.

But nothing really prepared me for the current ads. They have been discussed before on the Internet and in Podcasts, but I only saw them recently. The machismo in the Asian and Russian ads was almost cartoon-like. The Koreans and Chinese break cement blocks, kick them off the heads of other guys, and lie on broken glass while a comrade breaks bricks on their abs with a sledgehammer. As fun as that looks — and I can’t wait to try it — I don’t know how often it would come up in combat, but it sure makes an impression. Little Whoa Fat the Korean boy dictator watches a display and claps like crazy. As do all the others around him if they know what’s good for them. You don’t want to be denied your weekly allotment of grass.

And then we see the one for the U.S. military, which features an actual cartoon of a very sweet-looking, attractive young woman who informs us apropos of nothing that she was raised by two mommies. Quoi? Why is that even relevant? Did we learn anything about the parentage of the Russian behemoth or the Korean tae kwon do experts featured in their ads?

It’s all so tedious. Our cartoon star and narrator has enlisted in the Army, and good for her – I didn’t – and I would love to see her on the rifle range or kicking bricks off someone’s head, just DOING something we can applaud her for. Rather than just BEING something, which is the daughter of two lesbians.

I can just see the North Koreans in deep, perplexed discussion: “Huh! The soldiers in American imperialist Army are all women. Is it a devious trick? AND, they all have two mommies. Who’s zoomin’ who? THAT is impossible! They are worse off than we thought – they do not even know basic biology!”

One of the most precious possessions I own – and something I would save in a fire before virtually any of my clothing – is a personal letter to my father from James Forrestal, Secretary of the Navy. It is dated February of 1946 as Daddy mustered out of the service. I suspect – and hope for the sake of the typing pool — that it was partly a form letter with the personal salutations and addresses typed in carefully. But it looks for all the world like a hand-typed letter. It would make more of an impact if I scanned it, but I am afraid if I remove it from the frame, it could crack or tear. So, I will simply retype it exactly as it appears over the Secretary of the Navy’s Washington letterhead:

My Dear Mr. Baumbach:

I have addressed this letter to reach you after all the formalities of your separation from active service are completed. I have done so because, without formality but as clearly as I know how to say it, I want the Navy’s pride in you, which it is my privilege to express, to reach into your civil life and to remain with you always.

You have served in the greatest Navy in the world.

It crushed two enemy fleets at once, receiving their surrenders only four months apart.

It brought our land-based airpower within bombing range of the enemy, and set our ground armies on the beachheads of final victory.

It performed the multitude of tasks necessary to support these military operations.

No other Navy at any time has done so much. For your part in these achievements you deserve to be proud as long as you live. The Nation which you served at a time of crisis will remember you with gratitude.

The best wishes of the Navy go with you into civilian life. Good luck!

And then it is signed in cursive in fountain pen ink: James Forrestal.

This amazing document is 76 years old and brings tears to my eyes every time I read it. Not just because I lost Daddy so recently, but because it evokes a pride and patriotism that is now not just passé, but actively denigrated by our political elites, even unto the highest reaches of the military itself, especially the generals with more ribbons than brains. Daddy really was “proud as long as [he] live[d].”

Can you imagine a military that is worried about third-trimester pregnancy flight suits ever saying about any branch of the Service that “It crushed two enemy fleets at once, receiving their surrenders only four months apart”? Boy, that sure sounds toxic and male. Surrender is such an ugly, humiliating word for people we should never call “enemies.”

Or, “For your part in these achievements you deserve to be proud as long as you live.” Sakes alive, crushing another nation’s military sounds a lot like “white rage,” and we can’t have that now, can we? Why would anyone have had a reason to be upset about the thoroughly crush-worthy behavior of the Japanese or Germans in regard to the way they conducted the war?

Before the final best wishes to go with Daddy into civilian life, SecNav Forrestal predicts “The Nation which you served at a time of crisis will remember you with gratitude.”

Not so fast, sir! The “Nation which you served at a time of crisis” will throw your behind OUT of the service if you don’t take multiple shots for a virus you have a 99% chance of surviving. It will make you walk around in high heels to show what it feels like to be a woman. It will call the white soldiers White Supremacists without a shred of proof that they are among the two or three dozen White Supremacists left in the country. It will do all it can to stir up racial division and grievance, seriously damaging the morale and esprit de corps that is vital to combat.

And now with the saber-rattling Cornpop veteran hastening hostilities with Russia in the winter (Napoleon, or Hitler, call your offices…), can you imagine the current political and military “leadership” (taking nothing away from the individual American soldiers) coming out with a victory? Military vets who know a whole lot more about this than I do, please weigh in!

I include a postscript of sorts to the short, controversial life of James V. Forrestal. He was a strong anti-Communist, a hard-liner on American attitude toward the Soviet Union, and a firm believer that the State Department and other high echelons of government were being infiltrated by Communists. In a conversation with the much-maligned Joe McCarthy, Forrestal said regarding the alleged “stupidity” of the prevailing attitudes favoring accommodation and focusing on social welfare in the budget rather than Defense: “Consistency has never been a mark of stupidity. If they were merely stupid, they would occasionally make a mistake in our favor.”

Has any truer statement ever been made about the “good faith errors” of the Big Tech cancellers, of the alleged sloppiness of out-of-context quotes in the legacy press and flagrant, disingenuous “editing” in the electronic media, or the border disgrace which has gone from “porous” to a firehose of illegal invasion, complete with secret night flights to Red States? (And that’s why they call them Red-eyes?)

Everything we see now is deliberate. And has nothing in common with the country in which I grew up.

And now this here “birthing person” must make a few phone calls to check on how to get one of them there fancy new crack pipes the taxpayers have purchased for just $30 million. I wonder if their manufacture was outsourced to China, like the hundreds of millions of COVID test kits mailed to Americans? As the late author Sue Grafton once had her main character say in a novel: “I will have much to report when I return to my home planet.”

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