I first read “The Iliad” in high school. The translation my teacher handed out had a single photograph on the cover: American G.I.s on D-Day storming out of a landing craft onto Omaha Beach.
The subtext of this pairing wasn’t obvious to me, as a teenager. The rage of Achilles, the death of Hector and all those Greeks in their “black-hulled ships” seemed to have little to do with the Second World War.
Many years later, after having fought in two wars of my own, that image has come to resonate in a new way. If “The Iliad” served as an ur-text for the shape the ancient Greeks assumed their wars to take (Alexander the Great, for example, is said to have slept with a copy beneath his pillow when on campaign), then World War II has served a similar function in our society, framing our expectations of war, becoming our American Iliad.… Seguir leyendo »
This is the 15th Memorial Day since the battle of Falluja in late 2004, in which 82 American service members died. The battle was a key operation at the outset of the Iraq War and resulted in the fiercest urban combat since the battle for Hue in Vietnam in 1968.
I fought in that battle in Iraq, leading First Platoon, Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, Eighth Marine Regiment, and two years later, on a clear January day in Camp Lejeune, I was awarded a medal. My entire family came for the occasion. Our infantry battalion stood in formation while the adjutant for the Second Marine Division read a citation.… Seguir leyendo »
In her role as leader of the Marine Corps’ all-women boot camp at Parris Island, S.C., Lt. Col. Kate Germano was known as a demanding and at times blunt commander. She was also effective. Under her leadership, performance in physical fitness and rifle tests improved significantly, and so did retention rates for female recruits. Colonel Germano drove her recruits based on the belief that women would not be taken seriously as Marines until they could meet the same performance standards as men. That belief is widespread, and it is ingrained in Marine culture.
But on June 30, after complaints from some recruits about her aggressive leadership tactics, and conflicts with her own commanders, Colonel Germano was removed by her superior, Brig.… Seguir leyendo »