Al Vasquez-Opinion Journalist www.thehispanicvoice.com
It struck me today, we all bring our life experience into this moment called “now”. We decipher, place judgement and give relevance based on how we have been served by our personal history.
Most adults will recall images of Marines storming enemy beaches. Despite the fact new technology has evolved, hitting the beach using landing crafts is still used today. For many it is something you witness in war movies. For Marines, it is common. Hitting the water after leaving the LSD (landing ship dock); Or, loading on to landing crafts down ship cargo nets with full back packs marks you forever as one of the few. The left flank, right flank scramble off the landing craft, through the cross currents, rifle in the air, lingers in your mind for a lifetime.
My recollections are full of camaraderie, nonsense kidding and total respect for those sharing the moment in this slice of time. Seconds before the ramps fall are punctuated by intense silence and renewed kinship with the Lord. The American naval personnel water taxi service become your brothers and there are no qualms in those brief moments about cross service identification.
For the past six and a half years, we have been led down a path of American military deterioration which will take years to recover. America can no longer launch a shuttle into space without using Russian rockets or Chinese technology. The United States is today negotiating long term contracts for Russian made rocket engines. We are capable but no longer supported in building our own. The Obama presidential phrase “you didn’t build that, somebody else did”, has become an American standard. As a nation we have become obsessed with mediocrity. Our military has been degraded, our stealth designs have been compromised and even Iran has captured drones and totally examined our top secret aircraft. No boots on the ground is becoming an imperative, not a strategic decision.
In USA Today, a small column appeared on the front page attesting to the fact they thought it merited public attention. The title of the article read “ Foreign vessels could aid U.S. Navy”, Marines might use ally fleets due to our shortage of ships was the sub-title. The article delved into the fact Marines no longer have the equipment and capabilities to make amphibious landings. It is depressing to read America now has to further depend on other nations to carry out our military goals. No longer can the American military depend on self sufficiency. American Marines hitch hiking on foreign vessels is described as a stop gap measure by Brig. General Norman Cooling who will likely get demoted for exposing a truth this administration would rather you not know. “There is no substitute for U.S. amphibious vessels”, Cooling said. The Navy has 30 amphibious ships but needs 38 to meet minimum amphibious needs, fulfilling needs will take until 2028. Agreements are currently being worked out with foreign nations which will take over a year to complete. Somalian pirate ships could be the answer.
For the United States it becomes absurdly ridiculous to believe we cannot even adhere to minimum standards. Thirty-eight amphibious ships does not even sound like a start. The American economy would be much better served if we built all the ships we can build to create employment. Unemployment can be a thing of the past.
As we approach the 4th of July, it would serve us well to understand who we are in the realm of nations. It is significant you still have to look up to see America. We have leaders who are insistent in forcing our eyes towards the ground. These leaders who we by farce have elected misrepresent who we are. They mischaracterize the fact we have evolved from an imperfect humanity, full of foibles and human error. That is not who we are as a nation. Cipher in the fact Neanderthal DNA can still be found in 6% of the human population and you will understand we are still progressing out of ape-hood. For those who still retain self thought, not tainted by false dogma or mainstream media, looking across national boundaries will reveal a free nation who draws millions from around the world. All wanting the freedoms we offer. If we are so disgustedly bigoted, jingoistic and oblivious to humanity, why are our gates flooded?