In the more than two centuries since its creation, the Marine Corps has always been there when America needed it. Marines have found themselves in numerous grim spots, where prospects appeared bleak: Guadalcanal, Okinawa, Chosin, Khe Sanh to list just a few. Those names evoke the Corps’ glorious past. But the Marines met every challenge and always overcame them.
Now the Corps may be facing its toughest fight at home, in the halls of the Pentagon. At a time of spiraling federal deficits and calls for slashing the defense budget, the Marine Corps must once again justify its existence, a drill it has gone through before during its proud history. Even Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has questioned the likelihood of a future major amphibious operation, what kind of capability the United States would need to carry it out, and how much. Quite a full plate for new Commandant General James Amos, who assumed his post on 22 October.