I salute all of those who are now serving, have honorably served in the past, or will honorably serve in the future in the United States Marine Corps.
I hoist a tankard of ale from Tun’s Tavern to the “Shores of Tripoli” and all the places where my brothers in arms in the finest Naval Infantry outfit in the universe have laid down their lives for this country and each other. May they rest in peace.
There is a special brotherhood in the Corps. I served in the Navy but my Dad was a retired Marine. The man earned advanced degrees and was eventually a major player in the Saint Paul Schools. But until the day he died he was first, and foremost, Staff Sergeant Oliver Courtemanche, U.S.M.C. Retired. Scratch him and he bled that amazing Scarlet that belongs only to the Marines.
I have other friends that are Marines. And they are all proud of that background. They should be – wimps need not apply. They are forever part of that organization. And, as I point out each year, I am envious of their camaraderie and sense of history. So, with an especially hale shout, I thank my Father Oliver Courtemanche, his best friend Harold Schwartz, Francis Brown, Frank the scrounger, George Heatherington, Paul Sharpe, General Hanlon, Gunnery Sergeant Smith, Lieutenant Colonel Bob Stephenson U.S.M.C. Ret, Tolor White, Dusty Liston (Sergeant of Marines and Mother of fine Daughters), Sergeant Dave Vig, Rick at Mickey’s, Staff Sergeant Gordon Goetz, Sergeant Clyde Smith, Mark and Josh from D.L.I. whose last names the years have vaporized, Sergeant Mark Herzog, Master Gunnery Sergeant George Gubko U.S.M.C. Retired, and the hundreds of other members of the Marine Corps I have served with in joint commands, schools, the workplace, and Toys – For -Tots. To a person, I love you all and honor you this day. (All ranks where as of when I knew them. I’m sure more than one went on to be Commandant. If not, the Corps screwed up somewhere.)
Semper Fi, Marines.