Once a Marine...
By Henry Piarrot
Evil is the word relating to that which is regarded as morally appalling, principally corrupt, wantonly vicious, inhumane, egotistic and wicked. In the civilized world, this word is used to describe actions, thoughts, and ideas which are the adversaries of goodness, ultimately resulting in unnecessary suffering and, or death - the opponent of life. When this rival of peace rears it’s ugly head at home or abroad, we Americans call the Marines.
Robert Joseph James Michael Francis Xavier Birch Jr. was born on December 29, 1965 in Brooklyn, New York. The reason he has so many names is a story all by itself. However, each moniker represents a part of the man his mother prayed he would one day become. Unfortunately, Birch’s mother, Majorie Catherine Donohue would not live past her son’s twenty second year, as she succumbed to cancer on October 8, 1987. Two months later, young Bobby joined the Marines.
Barely a year after completing reconnaissance training, Birch received a commendation as well as a field promotion in 1989 during his first taste of combat when then President Bush sent the Marines into Panama. He was credited with a 30-man capture and the corporal was summarily promoted to sergeant.When Iraqi troops entered Kuwait in the early morning hours of August 2, 1990, the rich but tiny country was ill-equipped for invasion. What followed were more than seven months of anguish as the Iraqi military indulged in an orgy of violence, torture and destruction on a mass scale.
Consequently, UN Security Council Resolution 678, followed on November 29 of that year. It stipulated that if the Iraqi dictator did not remove his troops from Kuwait by January 15, 1991, a U.S.-led coalition would be authorized to eradicate them from the premises. He did not comply.Then, on January 29, 1991, Saddam Hussein sent his three best armored divisions across the Kuwaiti border and into Khafji, Saudi Arabia. Caught without warning in the path of this juggernaut were scattered groups of lightly armed US Marines and special forces soldiers.
Birch was still asleep when the assault began. Wounded in the arm and abdomen within the first 10 minutes of the surprise attack, Sgt. Birch fought with his men for more than 36 hours until forces from Saudi Arabia and Qatar, backed by US artillery and air strikes, evicted the Iraqis and freed the two trapped Marine reconnaissance teams.
Discharged in 1994, Birch was driving a taxi in New Orleans on September 11, 2001. The next day he was in New York trying to re-enlist. He was told he was too old and spent the next several weeks passing out food and coffee to the workers just outside “Ground Zero
.” Disappointed, he confessed, “It was the most I was allowed to do.
”My friend Bobby Birch came to East Tennessee from Nashville last October and is currently a member of my staff at the Ramada Limited Suites. Recently, my mother was required to appear at a parole hearing in West Tennessee for the man who murdered her husband in 1992. If she did not attend, the monster would have certainly been released. For the first time, I was unable to escort her myself. Knowing the murderer’s violent history, Bobby volunteered to take her and make the 30 hour trip himself.
Although a decision has yet to be made in the case, Birch’s gesture and effort was nothing short of heroic and hopefully, a dangerous man's next victim has been spared.
“Once a Marine, Always a Marine
” - The motto of the Marine Corps League.
Henry Piarrot is a hotel manager in Sevier County,TN. Please send all story recommendations to firstname.lastname@example.org