The November Proceedings is our annual Marine Corps-focused issue, corresponding with the Corps’ birthday. I recently had two wonderful opportunities to speak with Marine audiences. The first was an invitation to talk to the Quantico chapter of the Naval Academy Alumni Association, where most of the members were active or retired Marine officers. The second was a talk with nearly 300 second lieutenants at The Basic School at Quantico. With both audiences, it was a pleasure to recount the history of notable Marines who have written for Proceedings. Major H. H. Utley. Lieutenant Colonel (later Commandant) John Lejeune. Colonel Robert Heinl. Captain (and later General) John Allen. The tradition continues with the winner of this year’s Marine Corps Essay Contest, Major Nick Brunetti-Lihach and his article, “Cyber War Requires Cyber Marines” (pp. 18-23) and six other Marine authors this month.
In September I had the privilege of attending the International Seapower Symposium (ISS) at the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, for which I thank Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson and Naval War College President Rear Admiral Jeff Harley. The CNO hosted dozens of his counterparts from around the world. Secretary of Defense Mattis addressed the world naval leaders one morning and quoted from two recent Proceedings articles. I spoke with navy and coast guard chiefs from Asia to Africa, and Europe to Latin America, including several who had written for “The Commanders Respond” in the March 2018 Proceedings.
The symposium was a hopeful reminder of the power of partnerships and alliances, and I saw tangible evidence that naval forces around the world are working together to combat problems on the high seas that include illegal trafficking, environmental degradation, overfishing, natural disasters, piracy, and regional hegemons who threaten their neighbors’ territory.
On 10 October, the U.S. Naval Institute and the U.S. Naval Academy hosted the “The New China Challenge” conference, sponsored by the William M. Wood Foundation. This event drew impressive speakers and panelists to talk about China’s rise, its goals, great power competition, and whether the United States and China are destined for war. The conversation was riveting and reminded me of how much the topic has appeared in Proceedings this year. In this vein, I highly recommend the article in this issue by Brigadier General William Bowers, USMC, and Christopher Yung titled “China Has Learned the Value of Amphibious Operations” on pp. 24-28. It details the lessons Chinese Communist Party leaders learned from not having the ability to pursue Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalists across the Taiwan Strait in 1949. Through the lens of the Chinese civil war, Bowers and Yung highlight the options that amphibious capability provides to political leaders and the problems that not having the capability can lead to.
Finally, take a look at Lieutenant Commander Graham Scarbro’s article, “Fix Naval Aviation’s Adversary Problem” on pp. 48-53. The photographs by Jose Ramos are breathtaking. The Proceedings team has been talking about launching a photo contest in 2019, and Jose’s stunning photos have put that idea at the top of our New Year’s to-do list.
Captain, U.S. Navy (Retired)
Life Member since 1993
Where We Were
November 1918 Proceedings—In “The Crime of the Colleges,” Medical Inspector J. S. Taylor, U.S. Navy, lashes out at U.S. colleges’ focus on a few elite sports, rather than fitness for the student body. “We see no praise in a given college’s claim that it possesses the fastest runner in the athletic world, but would esteem that institution which could boast that 100 percent of its students knew how to swim, and 75 percent of them, in recent track events, had participated in at least two events each.”
November 1968 Proceedings—“It can be said that the development of the A-7A Corsair II was completed in record-breaking time,” Commander James C. Hill, U.S. Navy, wrote in “The Corsair II as I See It.” “The airplane made its first flight on 27 September 1965, and was delivered to the Fleet (VA-174, NAS Cecil Field) in mid-October 1966. My squadron, VA-147, was not commissioned until February 1967. Amazingly enough, the squadron and the airplane deployed into the combat environment of Southeast Asia on 4 November 1967. The squadron is now on its way home without recording a single operational accident in almost 4,000 hours of combat flight operations.”
November 1993 Proceedings—In his prizewinning essay “The Marine Corps of Tomorrow,” Major Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., U.S. Marine Corps, wrote: “War is waged most effectively from first principles, and the first principle of the Marine Corps is the continued organization and training of expeditionary amphibious forces, deployed intact, and employed in depth as integrated air-ground task forces. These forces, using our doctrine, possess the flexibility, combat power, and simultaneity that will be critical in future regional wars, across the spectrum from low to mid intensity. They must remain whole, self-contained, and capable of action without escalatory reinforcement, yet capable of joint interoperability.”
A. Denis Clift
Golden Life Member