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General Shoup: Marines Need to Toughen Up

Jan. 4, 1962 - General David M. Shoup, the U.S. Marine Corps commandant, said that today’s Marines need to toughen up. He said the corps had “scored some bulls-eyes” in 1961, but that “Maggie’s drawers also flew.” “Maggie’s drawers” is a military term for a red flag that is waved by firing range personnel when a rifleman misses the target. As an example of failure, General Shoup recalled watching a platoon attending a lecture on guerrilla warfare tactics. He said they “looked about as enthusiastic as weight-watching women waiting at a skim milk dispensary.” The commandant also said his marines in training should “get out into the rain, snow, cold, and darkness” and “get used to field mice, screech owls, coyotes, and katydids.” During World War II, General Shoup was given command of the 2nd Marines and led the initial invasion of Tarawa, for which he was awarded the Medal of Honor and the British Distinguished Service Order.


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