Extreme SEAL Experience Blog
Marines only like other Marines...Saturday March 09th 2013 - 6:43 PM EST
Marines only like other Marines...
I've worked for some great Officers in my time. I really can't think of a bad officer I ever served under. One of the finest Officers I ever work for was a Marine Colonel in Liberia, Africa. 8 SEALs and a few hundred Marines were involved in Liberia when our Embassy was attacked and we all worked for the Colonel.
He was a big man, cut, defined and a total Marin...e. Everything you'd think a Marine Officer would look like, and he never smiled which is standard operating procedure for Marines.
He commanded respect.
Anything that anybody though might help the Mission, the Colonel was all ears. He took time to listen to everyone and he kept an exhausting schedule. The coolest thing about the Colonel was his matter of fact way he had commanding, as in, "You won't win a firefight throwing a rule book at the enemy."
He assembled all the Marines and us eight SEALs on the Flight Deck before we went into the Embassy and said, "MEN, I won't lose a single Sailor or Marine to a bunch of Fu*#in savages. Your rules of engagement are simple, he said, If you feel threatened, ENGAGE."
We loved him.
I've always loved and deeply respected Marines and my brother was a Devil Dog. Lovable Lugs with Huggable Mugs, Marines are tough and have a long history of Honor and Valor that dates back 237 years compared to SEALs at just 70 years.
Marines NEVER SURRENDER. Unless you shoot them with a big hunk of electrical tape.
We did a huge exercise in Guam one year. One of our missions was a POW Rescue of Navy Pilots being held in a remote camp by enemy forces. The enemy forces were a half dozen or so Marines.
Marines only like other Marines, they don't think much of Navy guys for the most part and that fact in well known in the Navy. So it's surprising that when the Marines approached a few Navy Pilots and asked them to play POW's for a SEAL rescue that the Pilots didn't just run away and hide. Instead, a few of them thought it would be fun and volunteered for the worst three days of their lives at the hands of the Marines.
A dozen of us U.S. and Thai Navy SEALs parachuted in for the mission one night. I landed so hard I broke everything in my rucksack I jumped with and buried my M-14 into the dirt when I hit. We quickly bundled up and hid our parachutes and began patrolling towards the distant target.
Some time into the patrol I realized my "Blank Firing Adaptor" had been ripped off my weapon when I landed. In short, I was out of the fight as a "BFA" was needed to fire any blank rounds we carried and I was supposed to enter the main gate of the POW Compound first.
The plan would soon change and I'd be stuck watching the rear or something worse.
Before dawn, we found a beautiful cleared out area in the thick Jungle, just small enough to comfortably hold us all. Overturned dirt and void of vegetation, we all flopped down in the soft ground and awaited sunrise a few hours away.
Then the pig attacks started.
We quickly found out our cozy clearing was a wild pig camp and from all corners the pigs attempted to get us to leave. We didn't go anywhere but we should have as we accumulated every pig tick, lice and bug they carried and we were miserable from bites.
We sent out Recon Teams in the morning to watch the camp. What we found was disturbing.
The Marines had constructed cages for the Pilots and built a reinforced POW Camp at the far end of an old WWII runway that held them. It really was a spectacular camp and they worked very hard to build it.
While one Team watched through the Jungle and recorded everything, the other teams slowly made their way around the camp to record a "Full 360 degree" picture of the place. Two large guard towers and enough barbed wire to fence in Montana, the Marines were never going to just let us take it without a fight.
The assault was planned for the following night so we had nothing to do except watch and record what the Marines were doing. What they were doing kept our attention and was entertaining to everyone except the Pilots.
The Pilots weren't having any fun. Not even a little…
Isolated and alone, the Marines had stocked up lots and lots of beer. They'd consume a bunch and terrorize the Pilots for a few hours as only Marines could do. When finished, they'd throw the Pilots back in their cages and lock them away. Then the Marines would sleep and do it all again a few hours later.
It was pretty rough stuff and the Pilots would rebel saying "I'm an Officer, we've had enough, let us go, you can't do this." The reply back from the Marines was a pretty standard "SHUT THE F*$K UP," and the harassment continued throughout the day.
I spent my time witling a stick down to fit the barrel of my M-14. A Blank Firing Adaptor attaches to the bayonet lug on the barrel and slides inside the weapon to restrict the gas flow of a blank round enough that the weapon would cycle for another shot when fired. I figured I could make one out of a stick and get back into the fight that night.
6 inches long, the stick fit perfectly and I wrapped the sticks end, front sight and bayonet lug with an entire roll of electricians tape I always carried for demolitions. When finished it looked like a little boxing glove.
Stupid looking, but I knew it would work.
As the sun began to sink low in the Jungle, the Recon Teams made their way back with intel for final planning.
Through broken English, a pair of Thai SEALs said they believed the Marines had seen them sneaking around the Target. When we asked why they thought that, one of the Thai's dropped his pants, aimed his ass towards us, put his hand between his legs and began waving at us. He said "Marines do to me!"
Yep… They got busted.
The plan was simple. We'd separate into a few teams. Two pairs would stalk close to the two Guard Towers while the rest of us would come online straight down the runway to the front gate. Timing would be critical. At exactly 2200 the snipers would command fire on the Guard Towers and we needed to be right at the gate at the exact moment to hit the gate guards and enter the compound.
Hoping the Marines didn't have night vision, we began a slow, quiet walk towards the gate side by side. We were mere meters from the gate as the snipers shots went off and the assault was on.
I didn't see anyone guarding the gate when the shots went off and I sprinted towards it to get inside. A second later, a Marine jumped up from behind some oil drums and our eyes locked.
He had the most surprised look on his face and was completely taken off guard at how fast things had just happened. I leveled my M-14 at his chest from 10 yards and fired.
The noise from an M-14 blank is very loud anyhow, but this shot was epic and rattled me. BOOM.
The M-14 basically blew up in my hands and the bolt flew out of the weapon destroying it. My boxing glove flew from the barrel and hit the Marine square in the chest. He made a long, loud, AWWWWWWWW sound as the air was forced out of his lungs and he fell to the ground.
We ripped the gate down and entered the compound expecting a big fight but nothing happened. The other Marines had saw and heard what happened and wanted "NO PART" of what we'd done to their buddy thinking we'd shoot them all with the painful projectiles. They surrendered.
Approaching the cages, the Pilots all had their arms stuck out like monkeys begging for a banana. They'd been through hell at the hands of the Marines for three days and all kept saying, "THANK GOD YOU'RE HERE. GET US OUT."
They were very happy to see us, right until we opened the cages, threw them to the ground, blindfolded and handcuffed them and quickly drug them away.
They weren't happy about it, and we didn't care.
It was old WWII stuff where captured American Airman were sometimes substituted by German Agents for infiltration.
Each of our Pilots had left a ISOPREP card behind. An ISOPREP Card has each mans photo, fingerprints and questions only he could answer for verification. Name of his first dog, girlfriend, car and the like.
In the Jungle we verified each flyer, uncuffed them and extracted into the night towing the dumbass Pilots with us.
The Navy Pilots learned a valuable lesson. The lesson that US Marines don't play nicely with others in the sandbox most times.
Especially with Navy Guys...