Believe it or not, Stan Mitchell changes his mind… Don’t cut the Marine Corps.

I’d like to share a debate I had with a USMC Major a few weeks ago.

As my regular readers know, I’m against the constant increasing in our defense budget, and would like to see far more moderation in our interventionist policies. Furthermore, I feel that our country cannot continue to afford the kind of defense spending we currently conduct — particularly given the howling from those on the right about how “high” our tax rates are.

So, a few weeks ago, a Marine Major on his very popular blog complained of the planned force reduction of the Marine Corps by 20,000 Marines. I, of course, took objection to his complaints, since I felt they were too defensive of his own branch. (One of the major problems with ever cutting anything in the Dept of Defense is each branch and department feels they should NEVER be the one cut. That their mission is too important.)

I posted on Major Pain’s blog the initial points that:

  • First, as an infantry Marine who served from 95-99, I’ve had plenty of buddies who stayed in tell me in recent years that standards were loosened too much in the rush to expand the Corps with both wars. (I’m a fan of a small, super elite force, ergo, I’m okay with it getting reduced back in size to what it was when I served.)
  • Second, we have two great oceans and two friendly neighbors, as well as the world’s best Navy and Air Force. Let’s follow George Washington’s advice and do a better job minding our own business, while beefing our home and border security, since terrorism will remain a threat.

Major Pain replied with these points (summed up by me in much shorter fashion for readability):

  • The Marine Corps is the smallest branch, and its forces are already rotating at a 1:1 rotation — meaning same time in the states as the amount of time deployed, which is a very high op tempo that is very hard on both the Marines and families.
  • The majority of those fired will be infantry Marines who over the past 10+ years have accumulated unique combat experience that can only be obtained by actual combat from 2001 – present.
  • The cuts will affect the economy, since 20,000 more folks will have to find jobs and lose a steady income. Furthermore, Major Pain made the point that there will be 20,000 fewer folks getting some of the best training and education a person can get — life experience that easily rivals most college educations, he argued.
  • Finally, he said the Marine Corps only gets 6 cents on the dollar of defense spending, but plays an integral part of fighting a counter insurgency long term war. He argued that nukes or other less needed items should be cut before you cut well-trained and needed ground forces.

After reading these points and thinking on them, I came to the conclusion that Major Pain was correct. That cutting the Marine Corps would be a mistake, and this conclusion isn’t just me trying to defend the branch with which I served.

So, if you get a chance to interact with any of your elected officials, I think it’s worth making his points. The Marine Corps cost less, gets more done, and helps mold incredible American citizens (even if they just do four years and exit).

Stan R. Mitchell

Oak Ridge, Tenn.

P.S. Please accept the greatest gift I can give.

P.P.S. Thanks to all who continue to make my novels a success. I seriously couldn’t have done it with everyone’s support. I’m excited to say that Little Man, and the Dixon County War  has gone as high as No. 16 on the Amazon UK Paid List (see here and here). My second novel, Sold Outhas also done well, also, going as high as No. 81 on the Amazon Paid List for the category of War (see here and here). Learn more about both books here.

10 thoughts on “Believe it or not, Stan Mitchell changes his mind… Don’t cut the Marine Corps.

    1. Thanks, Sir. I appreciate your eloquent reply a few weeks ago, and the time it took to make those points.

      It would have been far easier to call me an idiot, a peacenik, a stupid liberal, or some other term that’s neither accurate nor kind. And unfortunately that’s what most of our political discourse has descended to.

      We don’t even debate ideas any more as a country. Just name call and move on. It’s childish, ineffective, and infuriating, but I appreciate you setting the example for both your Marines and those reading your blog.

      Keep up the incredible work you do on your blog and thanks for the comment here.

      Semper Fi!


      1. Oh, and while I have you, Major, if you click on the “Category” of “China” in the upper right, you’ll see plenty of posts I’ve made on our growing Cold War with China. I’d love to see you address that topic on your blog someday — if you’re allowed to; maybe while you’re in uniform you’re not allowed to. Definitely keep your head down if that’s the case and let nobodies like me throw out opinions.

        But if you read them and can’t, and would like to change my mind on the topic, feel free to private message me.

        I don’t want to be steering our leaders wrong if I’m way off base, but I’ve thought pretty long and hard on my position, so I may not be so easily persuaded. : )


  1. You’re a good man, Stan. Hey, that rhymes.

    Keeping your mind open and willing to listen to logical argument isn’t always easy. It’s certainly not the norm.

    Keep on keepin’ on.


  2. Dealing with someone locally here in East TN, don’t military people have higher rates of unemployment than the general population? I think I was talking with someone from the state about how his duty is to place vets (they are trained on the latest technology, greater discipline than the average applicant, better work ethic, etc) yet as a market segment, they still have higher unemployment and it takes them longer to find a job (not sure of the reasons).
    In fact, I am going to tell my BNI networker Jeremiah with ISS about vets in 2 hours ( because he is interviewing and had 3 people blow off interviews in the last week.
    The vets I know, want to work and show up and are appreciate of a job, they do not think they deserve one!


    1. I think the shock that hits most veterans — and certainly me — is going from huge responsibility to nothingness.

      I went from commanding a squad of nearly thirteen men and being responsible for nearly a quarter of a million dollars worth of weapons, night vision optics, and gear, to being treated like a nobody while working retail for $7.50 per hour. It’s such a tough transition, and often your bosses don’t match up with the kind of quality you served under in the military. So, it’s a serious reality check.


  3. Well, you have huge responsibility again:
    People trust you for unbiased news and employees trust you to get paid.
    Not sure how you are doing on assets but keep building them up!
    I had not ever given the shock much thought. Makes sense.
    Thank you for serving.


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