Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Happy Birthday Marines!

Today is the 235th birthday of the U.S. Marine Corps

During the American Revolution, many important political discussions took place in the inns and taverns of Philadelphia, including the founding of the Marine Corps. 

A committee of the Continental Congress met at Tun Tavern to draft a resolution calling for two battalions of Marines able to fight for independence at sea and on shore.  

The resolution was approved on November 10, 1775, officially forming the Continental Marines

As the first order of business, Samuel Nicholas became Commandant of the newly formed Marines. Tun Tavern’s owner and popular patriot, Robert Mullan, became his first captain and recruiter. They began gathering support and were ready for action by early 1776.  

Each year, the Marine Corps marks November 10th with a celebration of the brave spirit which compelled these men and thousands since to defend our country as United States Marines.  From: The Marines, the few, the proud

I can't think of a better way to celebrate this incredible organization than to read about some of its most unforgettable achievements.  Last night I finished a very readable and unforgettable book by a Marine who served in Vietnam. This is actually memoir #5 in my Month of Memoirs.


Author: Barry Fixler
Publisher/Format: Exalt Press (2010), advance galley, 320 pages
Subject: war in Vietnam and the U.S. Marines
Setting: Vietnam
Genre: Memoir
Source: signed copy from the author

Barry Fixler was a fun-loving Long Island teenager when he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps because his father had admired the Marines so much while he was on duty with the Army during WWII.

Today Fixler is a successful jeweler in Long Island who is the embodiment of the saying "Once a Marine, always a Marine."  His irreverant almost flip style of writing about war actually brings home the horrors he and his fellow Marines endured.  Having lived a rather sheltered and comfortable middle class life, he finds himself enduring the training of Parris Island, Camp Lejeune, and Camp Pendleton before being shipped off to ground combat duty in Vietnam.  He survived 13 months of ferocious and horrific fighting and hardship, including the famous 77 day siege of a hill in Khe Sahn, a battle which many consider one of the greatest battles ever fought by the Marines.

He gives us the raw, unvarnished, gory truth about young men at war. But he also gives us one of the most loving portraits of Marines I've ever read. It is not a book for the squeamish, but he does not dwell on the gore.  He focuses instead on the relationships and lifelong friendships the Corps builds. His engaging style, while earthy, shows why the sub-title is 'fond' memories of Vietnam. The experience is engraved in his mind and heart forever.

Fixler is donating 100% of the profits from the sales of this book (pub date: Dec 1) to help Marines who are combat casualties of today's wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The story of his life today, and his efforts on behalf of these wounded warriors is only a few short chapters at the end of the book, but they are as powerful as the earlier, easy to read, sometimes laugh out loud adventures of this young and brash teenager who returned home in one piece as a confident mature adult, and who has never forgotten the lessons of comradeship and devotion to duty that were inculcated in him by the Corps.

Thanks Barry for a terrific book, and for showing us that war can be horrible, but honorable service to one's country can build fond memories.  Semper Fi and Happy Birthday!

I received this book as a participant in the War Through the Generations challenge.  Barry Fixler was kind enough to provide a copy for every participant in the challenge.  It's been an incredible year reading about the history, battles, and politics of that conflict, and anyone wanting to understand the role of Marines in Vietnam will enjoy this book.


  1. Happy Birthday to the Marines!!

    You have the very nicest dress uniforms.

  2. My Marine Corps husband, although in his 70s and handicapped by Parkinson's, is still recognizably a Marine. When a friend's son recently enlisted in the Marine Corps and she was worried, I told her he'll come home a fine man and she'll be very proud of what he has become. We're in our element in our neighborhood, there are an unbelievable number of Marine Corps veterans just on our road alone and it's only 8 miles long.


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