From the Halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli, the U.S. Marine Corps has valiantly and reliably served and protected the nation and its interests for more than 240 years. “Americans will always want a force that looks the enemy in the eye,” wrote John Fannin in the Marine Corps Times. One “who can see the bared teeth and the ferocity of our worst enemy and deliver the fight to that enemy.” The Marines have always been that force.
Yet, as individual Marines continue to battle in places few Americans can find on a map, the Marine Corps as an institution is fighting and losing a larger war right at home. A failure to shore up ethical lapses, modernize its culture to align with society as a whole, and establish a battle rhythm in the fight for public opinion, risks crippling the service and its ability to serve the nation. It may even put in jeopardy the existence of the Marine Corps itself.