Non incautus futuri

A Washington & Lee junior and Marine Officer Candidate in Spain

Sunday Night Motivation

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This post is completely unrelated to Spain, but whatever. This post is about Private First Class Oscar Austin.

PFC Oscar Austin

In 1969, Oscar Austin was 20 years old. He was my age — just another young Marine serving with 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines. On February 23, Austin’s unit came under attack by a large force of North Vietnamese sappers. The observation post he was manning was under heavy fire from enemy small arms and explosives. During the intense firefight, PFC Austin saw another Marine fall injured. The man was unconscious; his body was dangerously exposed out in the open.

Austin jumped out of his fighting hole (Because “Foxes dig holes to hide in; Marines dig holes to kill the enemy from!”), abandoning his relatively covered position in order to rescue his fallen buddy. As he ran, he saw an enemy grenade fall in range of the wounded Marine. Without hestitating, Private First Class Austin threw himself between a live grenade and a wounded Marine. He was badly wounded, but ignored his injuries and focused his attention on the other Marine. It was then that he saw an NVA soldier aiming a rifle at his unconscious buddy. Once again, Austin threw himself between enemy fire and the incapacitated Marine. But this time, he did not survive. His Medal of Honor citation concludes simply: “He gave his life gallantly for his country.”

Marines like Oscar Austin are not uncommon. Marines are willing to fight and die for the Marine on their left and the Marine on their right. Marines know that “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for a friend.”

I still have to make it through one more summer in the hills of Quantico, but my motivation comes from stories like these. I know it will be a distinct honor to share the company of men like this. It will be a great privilege to share the company of United States Marines.


Written by Lee

August 1, 2011 at 01:39

Posted in Marine Corps

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