WWII Advertising and the art of James Bingham

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Have to say, I don’t recall my own Marine Corps’ deployments being like this.

Bits of Memory

James Bingham was a naval officer and advertising genius in his day. His clients included The Airlines of the United States (a travel association), Association of Railroads (Travel association), Maxwell House Coffee, Gulf Oil, Cannon Towels, Caterpillar Tractor, Philadelphia Whisky, Alcoa Steamship Company, Champion Spark Plugs and U S Steel. The main purpose of advertising during this period was to build brand loyalty tied to support of our troops and the war effort with an eye towards post war consumerism.

His ads seem to be the precursor to the A&F style ad layout. Close to soft core porn as you could get in mainstream publications (Life etc.) in those days. Here are some towel ads. They could have easily been done by Tom of Finland. They ran in all the big magazines. And apparently gays in the military aren’t a new thing either.










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Military “Scandal” Du Jour.

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I had so much on my mind to say about this newest “scandal,” but I found that one of my Marine Corps brothers has already said it much, much better. So here it is.


This stupid foot surgery kept me out of the loop on ANOTHER scandal. Apparently, some pictures surfaced of US (and Afghan) Soldiers posing with enemy corpses. Not too long ago we saw video of Marines’ urinating on enemy corpses.

Another story came out which was much more positive. Former Corporal Megan Leavey was reunited with her war dog, former Marine Sergeant Rex. This is a truly inspiring story which I don’t want to cover here because this post is not about fun, but you should read it when you need a boost.

But even that positive story carries a dark undertone. Rex spent 10 years on active duty, inspired a book, and would have been killed upon retirement if he could not have been “untrained” as a war dog. Even then, without congressional interference, he would have been killed.

You’ll note I don’t say put down. This post is…

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Thank you, Marine Corps, and the “Consequences of Same-Sex Marriage”

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First, thank you to the Marine Corps for being the gift that keeps on giving. Sure, back in the day, the Corps gave me discipline and confidence and the chance to be a bad-ass and look good doing it. But the Marine Corps also gave me the greatest friends a man could ever have. And that gift keeps on giving.

Exhibit A:

Today on Facebook, my friend, Eric, posted this photo and included this commentary:

It’s funny, but I already know the three consequences. Two dudes fall in love, less dudes competing for the available chicks out there. Two chicks fall in love, more dream hook-up fodder for every dude out there. Gay couple moves in next door to me, my wife and I have trusted neighbors who understand the importance of love and we either have two dudes who can decorate the shit out of my house or two chicks who can hunt. Hey… this is Oregon. Thanks for the letter- fuckers

See how cool my friends are? And I have the Marine Corps to thank for bringing them into my lives. Semper Fi, indeed.

Running The Marine Corps Marathon, Part II

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Twelve minutes after the starting cannon shot, my running buddy and I made our way across the timing mat. We were on the go and starting our marathon.

After standing around for the better part of an hour, we were anxious to move. And we all know how easy it is to over-run at the beginning. Running in a tight pack kept us from going out too fast, though. Our plan was to stay somewhere around 11:00 minutes per mile. That’s slower than my 10K pace of 9:30, but we both felt it was a pace we could maintain for the whole marathon.

The first mile was pretty flat. It was cold and shady, but I was all adrenaline at that point. It was so exciting to actually be running after months of preparation that the distance really flew by. But once we reached mile one, we hit the big incline. It was a long, sloping climb and it was my first, “oh, damn,” moment. It’s when the enormity of what I had signed up to do hit me full on.

Fortunately, everywhere we ran (and I do mean everywhere) there were cheering crowds of spectators lining the streets. Sometimes small groups, other times packed several people deep, but always… always… cheers and encouragement from the most amazing people I’ve ever seen at an event.

The hill continued until we hit the 2.5 mile mark. There, it was a nice steady downhill until mile 4. The course was beautiful, almost a back country run through intense autumn foliage of reds and browns. I’m from San Diego, so it was an extra benefit to be somewhere in the fall with so much scenery to enjoy.

At this point in the race, I was thinking about great advice someone had given me. They said, “don’t get so caught up in the stress and worry that you forget to enjoy the event itself.” I kept that in mind, and running through the beautiful countryside kept me more than distracted from the miles I was putting in.

Just after mile 4, we crossed over a bridge. I made sure to keep my head up and look both ways as I ran over it. It was still cold, but the sun was shining and the view was breathtaking. I was the only runner who called out, “hey, everyone, enjoy the view!”

The next five miles were an out and back along Canal Road through the Palisades, an upscale neighborhood adjacent to The Mall. Even though it was completely residential, we still had crowds out to cheer us on. Entire families were along the course, holding signs and waving pom-poms and clanging cowbells. (Seriously, what was with all the cowbells?!)

My best memory of these miles was the Navy sailor, running alone, carrying a flag, and singing “Take On Me” by a-ha. Yep, he even reached for the crazy high notes of “Take on me… take on me… taaaake meeeeee oooooooonnn… I’ll beeeeee goooooooooonnnne, in a day or twoooooooooooooooo!”

He was just one of many memorable characters I “met” along the course. There were so many people with powerful stories, told through photos and names and descriptions included on their t-shirts and sweatshirts and pinned on signs.

Medal of Honor winners. Trauma survivors. Brave men and women who served and sacrificed in all branches of the service. Children with cancer and beloved family members. There were so many stories that touched my heart… and yes, there were some tears along the way. I’m not ashamed to admit that. I felt honored to share the miles with all of them.

Near mile 10, I thought we would be making our way to The Mall. But no. We ran by it, but we veered off to run along the river. It wasn’t until mile 16 that we came back to the business district, and just before mile 17, I made a quick stop to discard my running pants. I was warm enough to run in shorts, despite having what seemed to be the whitest legs of any competitor out there.

To this point, I felt great. We were steady on our pace and feeling strong. And we had trained up to a long run of 20 miles, so this was nothing new for us. And hitting mile 17 meant we were almost at The MCM Gauntlet.

What is The Gauntlet? The Marine Corps Marathon requires an average pace of no less than 14 minutes per mile. In addition to that, there are two checkpoints you have to meet. The first is the Gauntlet, located at the start of the section of course along The Mall. The crowds were thick in this area, and the cheers and screams were so motivating. I felt so energized, like I could run all day long if I had to. And running by the Capital Building and past the Washington Monument? Absolutely incredible.

Finishing the lap around The Mall meant heading to the second checkpoint. Called “Beat The Bridge,” it is located at mile 20. If you don’t beat it, you get swept onto the follow bus. For me, hitting the bridge was my moment. It’s when I realized that I was actually going to finish the marathon, that I could complete the run in the time left even if I had to crawl. And yep, I made Jerry stop for a water break and a quick photo while we were in the middle of the bridge.

Up to this point, I was doing great. But we had never trained past 20 miles, so we were on all new ground. I had no idea how tough it was going to get from here.

Miles 22, 23 and 24 were an out and back through Crystal City. The crowds were super supportive, but my body was starting to push back. Since I ran the Tough Mudder last May, my right hip has been my weak spot on long, long runs. The marathon was no exception. More than once, I had to make a quick stop to stretch and twist and try to loosen up my muscles.

At this point, I had two things going for me. One, I knew that I was not going to quit no matter what. Two, my friend, Jerry. He simply refused to let me stop. By the time we hit mile 25, we knew that we could finish in less than 5 hours. But that meant that we had to keep moving.

I had never seen anything as beautiful as the mile marker for mile 26, nor had I seen anything as terrible as the hill that we had to climb to the finish line. It felt straight up, and the crowds were pushing in so tight from either side that it felt like we could reach out and touch the spectators on either side of the course.

We dug in and kept running. I could barely lift my feet high enough off the ground to match the incline of the road, but my eyes were on the prize. And finally, with less than 40 seconds to spare, we crossed the finish line.

Yes, I ran the Marine Corps Marathon in 4:59:20. And I am proud of myself, grateful to my friend, and honored to have been part of “The People’s Marathon.”

(And for more photos of the course, check out another runner’s blog:www.andherlittledogtoo.c

Marine Corps Sgt Dakota Meyers Awarded the Medal of Honor

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Dakota Meyer on Thursday will become the first living Marine to receive the Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War for his actions in saving three dozen fellow warriors in Afghanistan. Meyer will receive the coveted military award in an afternoon ceremony at the White House. In media appearances, Meyer has said that the recognition was tough, coming as a result of “the worst day of your life.”

The citation for his award reads:

“For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the repeated risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as a member of Marine Embedded Training Team 2-8, Regional Corps Advisory Command 3-7, in Kunar Province, Afghanistan, on 8 September 2009. When the forward element of his combat team began to be hit by intense fire from roughly 50 Taliban insurgents dug-in and concealed on the slopes above Ganjgal village, Corporal Meyer mounted a gun-truck, enlisted a fellow Marine to drive, and raced to attack the ambushers and aid the trapped Marines and Afghan soldiers. During a six hour fire fight, Corporal Meyer single-handedly turned the tide of the battle, saved 36 Marines and soldiers and recovered the bodies of his fallen brothers. Four separate times he fought the kilometer up into the heart of a deadly U-shaped ambush. During the fight he killed at least eight Taliban, personally evacuated 12 friendly wounded, and provided cover for another 24 Marines and soldiers to escape likely death at the hands of a numerically superior and determined foe. On his first foray his lone vehicle drew machine gun, mortar, rocket grenade and small arms fire while he rescued five wounded soldiers. His second attack disrupted the enemy’s ambush and he evacuated four more wounded Marines. Switching to another gun-truck because his was too damaged they again sped in for a third time, and as turret gunner killed several Taliban attackers at point blank range and suppressed enemy fire so 24 Marines and soldiers could break-out. Despite being wounded, he made a fourth attack with three others to search for missing team members. Nearly surrounded and under heavy fire he dismounted the vehicle and searched house to house to recover the bodies of his fallen team members. By his extraordinary heroism, presence of mind amidst chaos and death, and unselfish devotion to his comrades in the face of great danger, Corporal Meyer reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.”

Of Blame and Credit

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Last night, a team of Navy Seals were dispatched to Pakistan to capture or kill Osama Bin Laden. Unfortunately, the team was unsuccessful. They failed. The details are still emerging, and it is unknown at this time if the mission failed because of mechanical, logistic, or personnel problems. Either way, the blame for this rests with the Special Forces team. They had their orders and failed to complete them.

Can you imagine if this had been the message shared by the President last night? This entire nation would be (justifiably) outraged that the President… the Commander-in-Chief… had put the blame on the Navy Seals. We would all be pissed off that he was shirking his responsibility and authority as the head of the United States military and, instead, criticizing the Special Forces teams. We would all remind him that he was ultimately in charge of everything that the military did, good or bad, and that he needed to step up and take responsibility.

So, why is it that some are so quick to attack the President for his words last night? Based on what I’m reading, the President is being criticized for taking credit for the successful mission launched against Bin Laden. First, I didn’t hear that in his speech at all, but that is an argument for another day. Even if he was boasting, why shouldn’t he?

Just as he is ultimately responsible for any failures of the military, he is also ultimately responsible for any successes. He is the C-I-C, and it was under his leadership and command that Bin Laden was brought to justice.

If you know me at all, you know that I am a passionate and dedicated supporter of our military. My support is more than just a bumper sticker, too. My husband and I happily give our time and our money to a variety of military-related charities, and we directly help our extended Marine Corps families. Like so many others, I have lost countless hours worrying and praying for our brave servicemen and women in harm’s way. And I say all of this to remind people that I would never take anything away from our military.

But the President IS the Commander in Chief. He is the man who made the capture or killing of Osama Bin Laden the highest priority. And yes, he deserves credit for doing his part to make this happen.

More details will surely come in the days to follow, but I did find this today. It’s worth reading to get an idea of how this whole thing started.

Blowin’ Shit Up

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It’s why we join the Marines.

Seriously — people join the Army to be all they can be, while others join the Navy to see the world.

And folks join the Air Force to get a technical education or to pay for college.

But by and large young men tend to join the Marines in order to kill some motherfuckers and to blow shit up.

It really is that simple.

This was lifted in its entirety from the explicitly gay, often raunchy, always entertaining blog, “Bill In Exile.” It’s definitely Not Safe For Work, but I thought this post was too good to not share. When Scott (the blogger) talks about Marines, it’s firsthand and always worth the read.

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