Free «First to Fight» Essay

First to Fight

First to Fight by Victor H. Krulak is a book about the history, reputation, and the truth concerning the United States Marine Corps. I believe that the book compassionately introduces its readers to the historical events that has enabled the Marine Corps become what they are today. In its 252 pages, the book incorporates historical facts, interesting event background, and individual recollection of a number of people who have had a great influence on what the Marines are today. Organized in seven sections, Krulak explains different facets of the kind of struggle the Marine Corps has gone through. This trend has seen the Marine Corps acquire almost an equal organization structure as that of the Army, Air Force, and Navy. He illustrates how personal and professional relationship of the Marine Corps helped them in forging relationship with the general American public. This paper will, thus, give an in-depth analysis of this book, highlighting some of the events which have been useful in making the United States Marine Corps what it is today.

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Introduction of the Book

In its introduction, First to Fight gives an outstanding conversation between Krulak and Gunnery Sergeant (GySgt) on reputation of the Marine Corps as being the world greatest combat formation. In their conversation, Krulak tries to explain that the self confidence and pride seen in our Marines today was based on a shaky start off, where the Corps had more enemies than friends.  To Marine Corps, engaging into battle was like a dream since they were not acquainted with marine affairs due to being uneducated as they largely came from unskilled immigrants. The story goes on with the struggle of Marine commandants such as Archibald Henderson, who was not only loyal to the Corps, but also fought against the forces of the Congress and the Navy for the welfare of the Corps.

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The Main Body

The body of the book First to Fight illustrates events that depict the continued struggle of the Corps against generation frustrations in order to form viable existence within the combating forces. According to Krulak, in most cases, the Marine Corps were traumatized based on carefully designed plans that were fostered to eliminate Corps as a combating force (17). This is evident in December 1943 incident in Washington, which surrounded the proposal by the Army Chief of Staff George Marshall. As pointed out by Krulak, Marshall’s proposal was the need for creation of only three military forces, the Army, the Navy, and a separate Air Force (18). To him, there was the need to nullify the existence of the Marine Corps. He notes that the plan was even orchestrated with the House and Senate, which resolved to divide the warfare into three elements: the land, air, and sea. This would see the Army fighting at the land, the Navy at the sea, and the Air Force fighting in the air, with no mention of the Marine Corps at all.

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In another instance, Krulak notes that the attempt by the Army Lieutenant General Joseph through the McNarney plan to revise the Marshall’s plan was only devised to foster independency of the Air Force with the same plan omitting the existence of the Marine Forces (19). However, it was the work of prominent thinkers such as Merrill B. Twining that was critical in fighting for the Marshall’s unification plan that was initially seen as militaristic.  Krulak notes that Twining and his colleagues started winning the congressional trust in the struggle for the Marine Corps existence (28).  In the process, the Congress repeatedly enacted legislations that not only preserve the Marines but also strengthen their ability to fight effectively (32). For instance, when Krulak was an assistant intelligence officer for Marines in Shanghai, he photographed a Japanese ramp-bow landing craft during the Chinese-Japanese battle (Krulak 103). This photograph was approved by the Navy and became the bridge at which the United States Marines today purchase their fighting machines and weapons.

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In conclusion, First to Fight is an interesting book that depicts the love, aggressiveness, and determination of the Marines to fight against discrimination in defense of their country. I do believe that what is mirrored today in the Marine Corps originated from the various incidents which led to the strengthening of its welfare.

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