Anzac Day...

...one of my old Marine Corps buddies is coming down to visit in June... he and I were good friends when we were stationed in Alaska... but, when I PCS'd out to Scotland... he was sent to MCB Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii two weeks later.. to serve with 1st Radio Battalion...

...well, we have kept in touch over the years... and, I go up to visit him in Anchorage every other year or so... and, on our down years, he and his Wife come to visit Tennessee... this year, it's his turn.. they will be here shortly.. anyway, back to the story...

...he had not been at 1st Radio very long when he was deployed (I think with 11 MEU(SOC)) to Somalia... he, and a team of about 8 Comms/Elint/EW Marines set up a communications and collection point in Building One in Mogadishu....

...they did their jobs for a few months... and, when the time came, the Marines were pulled out of Mogadishu to be replaced with the US Army... well, once the Army took control of intel collection, NSA started complaining... they seemed to like the Jarhead Intel weenies better... so, that small team of 8 guys was sent back to Building One... leaving the US Army still in charge of security... in effect, stranding a tiny cadre of Marines in a sea of Soldiers...

...this cycle continued... the US Army was relieved of security for Building One, and replaced by the Australians... meanwhile, those intrepid 8 Jarheads remained in the upper floors of Building One.. continuing to do their jobs... collecting, and reporting back to NSA... I must say, those 8 guys did one helluva job... not only did they demonstrate the quality of USMC ELINT and Comms, they also had the opportunity to work closely with many of the UN Members' Armed Forces.. most notably, the Australians, the Turks, and the French Foreign Legion... all of whom provided security for Building One at various times...

...how the hell does all of this tie in to Anzac Day?... well, as History is often full of strange coincidences... my Buddy once told me a story that typical of most Military Operations....

...it seemed that the Australians had taken a shine to the 8 US Marines... they all got along great... and, as Anzac Day approached, the Marines began hearing stories of the incredible party being planned to celebrate the holiday... and, as an added surprise, there were going to be "Special Visitors" at the Anzac Day party this year...

...when the night arrived, and the ceremonies had been completed... of course, the beer began to flow... and then, the "Special Visitors" were announced... this being a UN Operation, it was announced that the Turks were going to be relieving the Aussies... on Anzac Day... so, in walk the Turks... who, as fellow soldiers, were welcomed with cheers... and, beer... to the Anzac Party... it must have been a surreal situation... but, in a way, a fitting one.... Australians and Turks... celebrating together... what was a victory for the Turks, and a bloodbath for the Aussies... yet, now... fighting for the same goals in Somalia... incredible... but, fighting men, regardless of their country of origin, are part of a brotherhood... mutual admiration, fear, and respect for the job...

...I wasn't there.. and, I am telling this story second hand... so, some of the details may be slightly askew... but, the story is true... so, Happy Anzac Day, everyone.... the sacrifice those brave troops made at Gallipoli should never be forgotten... the sacrifice of today's fighting men and women.. also... should not be forgotten... we owe them all a lot more than we could ever pay...

by Eric on April 25, 2004 | Comments(2) | Military Stuff

Comments so far:

Amen. Heroes all. They truly "got it," which is more than I can say for some these days.

posted by: maura on April 25, 2004 11:05 AM

I've had The Band Played Waltzing Matilda running on an endless loop in my head all day.

Good on ya Australia - God bless and God keep your men in Iraq safe from harm

posted by: chris on April 25, 2004 06:12 PM