Roger Helle / November 14, 2022

A Few Good Men

Where did the Marines’ “A Few Good Men” slogan come from? I was curious, so I did some digging.

Last week was a “twofer” for me. I’m a Marine and a veteran, so this post is late, but it’s still relevant for today.

Just before graduating from high school in 1965, my twin brother and I walked through the door of the Marine Corps Recruiting Office in Toledo, Ohio. On the door was a poster of a Marine in dress blues that said, “The Marines are Looking for a Few Good Men!” We went inside anyway and at 17 joined the world’s finest fighting organization.

While my brother’s career would last nearly 23 years, mine was cut short when I was wounded for the third time. However, Ron’s continued service and my visits to wherever he was stationed kept me in contact with many Marines.

For years I wondered where the recruiting slogan that drew us in the door came from. In recent years, we have seen a number of slogans from other branches of service come and go. Apparently, they are focus-group-tested, and if they sell, they are trotted out. “Army of One” was an epic fail, in my opinion … but no one asked! Still, the Marines stuck with the “A Few Good Men” slogan. Where did it come from? WWII? Korea? I was curious, so I began to do some digging.

The United States Marine Corps was founded on November 10, 1775. Those being recruited were told “The Marines are Looking for a Few Good Men!” This was not a focus-group-tested slogan. The Continental Marines were looking for men modeled after a biblical character by the name of Gideon. His story is in Judges 6 and 7. This is interesting because when the Angel of the Lord called him, Gideon was hiding his meager portion of biscuits and gravy (southern version) so the Midianites wouldn’t take it from him.

The Angel addressed him as “O Mighty Man of Valor” — powerful talk for a guy hiding from the enemy! If Gideon was like me, I’d be looking around the room wondering who else was there hiding with me! The Angel of the Lord gave Gideon explicit instructions. Gideon sent out a call to arms to Israel and recruited 30,000 recruits. Not bad, he thought. Then God said, You have too many!

So Gideon went out and said, Okay guys, we’re going out to battle to kick Midianite butt! The men shouted out loudly. And some of you might die, Gideon said. They shouted, not as loud this time. If anyone wants to go home, it’s okay. Before the dust cleared, he only had 10,000 men left. Not bad, Gideon thought. We’re only outnumbered 13 ½ to one!

Then the Lord said, You still have too many. The Lord reduced his army from 30,000 to just 300 men. Now you have just enough men, said the Lord.

Thousands of years later, the Marine Corps was not looking for just anybody. It was looking for men of godly character and integrity like Gideon.

My prayer is that the leadership of the Marine Corps will continue to resist the political correctness, gender confusion, and social experimenting that has weakened our military services. May they have the courage to continue to raise up men and women of godly character and integrity to defend our freedoms.

Happy 247th birthday to Marines everywhere!

Something to be thankful for!

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