First to Fight

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a salient lesson in having the moral courage to back one’s own professional military judgment, and then make events comply with that judgment.

The first section explains in detail the struggle of the Marine Corps to survive as an entity over its long history. General Krulak explains how the Marine Corps had to fight for its current status as an equal organization with the Army, Navy, and Air Force. Even a series of Presidents were among those who tried unsuccessfully to merge the Marine Corps with the other services. As the fight to survive raged, the Marine Corps needed to prove herself as a necessary force. General Krulak explains how the need for an amphibious assault force was the niche that the Marine Corps could and successfully did fill. With interesting and humorous stories, General Krulak shares behind-the-scenes information about the rocky evolution of amphibious vehicles needed to assault enemy beaches. On pages 103-104, General Krulak tells of one demonstration of such a vehicle. After convincing a hesitant Admiral to board the amphib for a demonstration, Krulak proceeded to attack a coral reef that subsequently knocked off one of the tracks. Enraged, the Admiral, who was originally hesitant because he was short on time, proceeded to walk in the knee-deep water to the loading dock and eventually was taxied back out to his ship. First to Fight describes a myriad of USMC amphibious projects and ideas, including amphibious tanks and tractors, amphibian cargo trailers, the exercise of command authority during the sensitive transition period ashore, the precise utilization of naval gunfire, close air support to ground forces, the tactical employment of helicopters, the evacuation of casualties, expeditionary airfields, and all-weather bombing. These projects and ideas, when combined, created an amphibious system and, in many cases, remain critical components of 21st century USMC warfighting from the sea. Through Joint Project 2048 and associated ideas,...
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