November 10

Marine Corps Birthday, 2018. In our nation’s capital with the Marines of India Company, my unit in Vietnam 1969-1970. We’ve called ourselves The Band of Brothers for many years, and that fits, especially on a day like this. I was honored to lead a memorial service for one of our own this morning, there at the Wall.

The sky was clear and the wind was strong as we said farewell to Lt. Jack Wiest, who went on to a higher duty last month. He was remembered today as a commander, friend, warrior, and spirited reveler. Tears were shed, voices choked, and grateful smiles marked our few minutes of observance, as other groups around us paused, removed their hats, and listened. We like to believe that our brief time on that sacred ground left a lasting imprint on a few minds and hearts.

Sharing a common journey is what it’s about. Going through hard times shoulder to shoulder builds a bond that can never be broken, and the long trek home and back to normalcy requires that we maintain the combat connection. We regret that some who served at our side overseas are still not “home,” in the fullest sense of that word. We see our mission as one of leaving no Marine behind, so we continue to reach out to comrades who still struggle.

So this is a time of celebrating the long history of the Corps and thanking the God of our understanding for the high privilege of permitting us to march and fight with the best. We look forward to guarding the Golden Streets together one day. Semper Fi.