Marine Corps Stories: Zeroed In
Major Hoops accepts a request to be interviewed.
“I was in the thick of the thick,” Major Gallaudet Hoops said. “As a platoon commander with the choo choo tracks on my collar points then, I lead those Marines to victory and I’m proud of that. What I did there, no, what we did there is nothing short of just getting the job done.”
Hoops pulled vapor from his e-cigarette. He swiveled in his chair in his office. Cherrywood adorned the space with some of the other furniture consisting of glass. Around the office the symbols of a true Devil Dog let anyone know of the officer’s ability to project solemn power. From a picture of Marines fighting in Guadalcanal and some moving images of Leatherneck warriors in Iraq and Afghanistan, there remained no doubt that this officer stayed motivated.
“I know that that last question was a bit of a roundabout. Forgive me sir,” Sergeant Rip Lacey said. He had been assigned to interview Hoops from The Devil Dog Times.
“No, no. You were more direct than I had anticipated. A few other civilian journalists asked me about how I earned two Navy Crosses for my efforts on two different fronts. Iran and Saudi Arabia. So, your question was fine, Sergeant.”
“Thank you, sir. Now, with the awards, there has been talk about you blazing a trail through the city of Riyadh. And Tehran. These capital cities were the targets of drone strikes. Why do you think it was necessary for ground troops to enter those cities?”
Like a bald eagle focused on capturing its next meal, Hoops zeroed in on the query.
“From Colonel Marsh who received orders from General Wainwright, these top leaders thought that the proper action to take was to storm the city and take out strongholds in a strategic fashion.”
“How so, sir?”
“How did the ground troops supply enough firepower to quash the rising might of the inhabitants of these places?”
“I would say that we outlined plans to disrupt the flow of the advanced weapons, the mediocre ones, and primitive weapons. We directed our aim at the buildings that housed the munitions and razed to the ground anything resembling something that they could use to attack us.”
‘That’s when you got hit.”
“We got hit.”
“All of your Marines made it back, though.”
“Yes, everyone came home relatively okay. Just a few shards of shrapnel, a cut here and there. But we outgunned them and kept them on the run.”
Sergeant Lacey straightened even more.
“And the civilian casualties...that must have surprised you.”
Hoops’ eyes lit up like a pinball machine. “No civilian casualties. At least not physically. We broke their psyche. That’s the whole point of war. Yes, we’ve got bombs and bullets and tanks and drones. They are all means to an end. The end is that you wipe away the hopes, dreams, wishes, and prayers from your enemy. That’s the work. That work consisted of creating complete hellfire during my tours in both countries.”
“Let’s get back to the Navy Crosses.”
“I’m no Chesty, that’s for sure,” Hoops said. He chuckled.
“Sir, you are being considered for the Medal of Honor. What would an upgrade in at least one of those Navy Crosses mean to you?”
“I think that it is a selfish thing. And that’s good. I’m glad that I earned those decorations. If I in fact qualify for the nation’s top award for the military, then I would accept it. It would be based on my own egoistic display of defending my Marines. That’s funny.”
“Funny strange. A little funny humorous. When people say “my” Marines. That’s selfish. They’re concerned with their own self-interest. It’s just extended to their compatriots.”
“Yes, sir. Take us back to those nights.”
“Like I said, I just commanded my Marines and laid down fire that must have taken out about twenty maybe thirty jihadists. That was Riyadh. In Tehran, the fight was much more intense. There must have been close to a hundred of them surrounding us. But we were prepared. I salute my team for being combat ready and determined to win.”
“And win we did, sir. I thank you for your time.”
“Thank you, Sergeant.”
Lacey secured his microphone in a case and slipped his smartphone onto his belt clip and exited from Major Hoops’ office.