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A FLOCKING OF EAGLES

 


By Geoff Metcalf

December 19, 2005

NewsWithViews.com

Eagles do occasionally flock together… and when they do flock, they flock to places like Fort Benning, Quantico, Fort Bragg and Coronado.

April of last year I wrote about ‘The New New Breed’. I observed that Duty, Honor, Country are more than just words. They are a foundation of principles…principles that are more important than fame, fortune, or life.

I wasn’t surprised, but was very moved, to read Matt Pottinger’s ‘Mightier Than the Pen’ in the Wall Street Journal.

Pottinger is a brand new Marine Second Lieutenant at the ripe age of 32. Until he experienced his epiphany, which led to his becoming a Marine, he was the Wall Street Journal’s correspondent in China.

Quantico at the matured age of 32 is testimony to this man’s commitment.

Matt is getting some attention about his career change. Pat Tillman got a lot of attention when he be abandoned a NFL career to be an Army Ranger. However, there are a lot more like them with less high profile launching pads and whom you will never read about.

Those who have survived the testosterone rich, sleep deprivation, physical exhaustion and mental challenges of our military’s exclusive resorts for masochist warriors will understand … those who haven’t won’t.

Pottinger wrote, “We often talk about how our policies are radicalizing young men in the Middle East to become our enemies, but rarely do we talk about how their actions are radicalizing us.” In a brief moment of disgust (after watching a video beheading), “I became their blowback.” Pottinger said.

Matt apparently came to view the Marines “as a microcosm of America at its best.”…and he heard the call.

I have often quoted Teddy Roosevelt and do so again:

"It is not the critic who counts, not the one who points out how the strong man stumbled or how the doer of deeds might have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred with sweat and dust and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who, if he wins, knows the triumph of high achievement; and who, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat."

Just as some viewed Pat Tillman’s sacrifice of fame and fortune for martial hardship and anonymity as odd, some will question Pottinger’s career change. It isn’t odd … it is a personification of Duty, Honor, Country.

We are a nation blessed that what some would deride as a patriotic anachronism has morphed into a new ‘new breed.’

  • Owen West was a Marine officer who ‘plays’ at extreme sports [Read].
  • He was a Force Recon Marine in the first Gulf War and subsequently a civilian working at Goldman Sachs on Wall Street making lots of money.
  • When the balloon went up in Iraq, he left Wall Street to be a Marine where Marines were needed.

He didn’t have to (or maybe he did) but to Owen, like ‘Tilly’ and his brother and hundreds like them, like Matt Pottinger, Semper Fidelis isn’t just a slogan or closing time tag line … it is a principle which is the essence of what and who they are. We are beyond lucky to have them as countrymen.

Anyone who has ever worn any uniform and served should be proud of brothers like Matt Pottinger, Owen West, Pat and Kevin Tillman and hundreds of thousand others. Jack Hoban (another warrior, martial artist, and former active duty Marine Captain) synthesized his seventeen-year apprenticeship with Dr. Robert Humphrey into ‘The Warrior Creed’, in which he notes,

“Wherever I go, everyone is a little bit safer because I am there. Wherever I am, anyone in need has a friend. Whenever I return home, everyone is happy I am there.”

We, as a nation, are not perfect … but despite our warts, blemishes, tragic flaws, and myriad shortcomings, we remain the best country on the planet.

Former Marine Corps Commandant General Charles Krulak said, [Read]

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“The military has a tradition of producing great leaders that possess the highest standards and integrity…this is not done instantly. It must be woven into the very fabric of our soul…”

During this holiday season when we thank God and pray, please include in your prayers 2nd LT Matt Pottinger and thank God for a country that can still produce warriors like him.

© 2005 Geoff Metcalf - All Rights Reserved

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"Geoff Metcalf is a nationally syndicated radio talk show host for TALK AMERICA and a veteran media performer. He has had an eclectic professional background covering a wide spectrum of radio, television, magazine, and newspapers. A former Green Beret and retired Army officer he is in great demand as a speaker. Visit Geoff's

Web Site: www.geoffmetcalf.com. While you're at it - pick up a copy of Geoff's latest book!  

E-mail: geoff@geoffmetcalf.com


 

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Those who have survived the testosterone rich, sleep deprivation, physical exhaustion and mental challenges of our military’s exclusive resorts for masochist warriors will understand … those who haven’t won’t.