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Victor H. Krulak

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Lieutenant General Victor H. Krulak, USMC (ret.), saw action in World War II, Korea and Vietnam. In 1934, he was commissioned a second lieutenant upon graduation from the United States Naval Academy on May 31, 1934. His pre-World War Two assignments included: sea duty aboard USS Arizona; the U.S. Naval Academy; 6th Marines in San Diego; and, the 4th Marines in China.  As a Lieutenant Colonel, during World War Two, he earned the Navy Cross and the Purple Heart on Choiseul Island, where his battalion staged a week-long diversionary raid to cover the Bougainville invasion.


At the outbreak of the Korean War he was serving as Assistant Chief of Staff,  Fleet Marine Force, Pacific.  He served in Korea with the 1st Marine Division as the Chief of Staff.


In 1964, Victor H. Krulak was the Commanding General, Fleet Marine Force, Pacific. Between 1964 and 1968, he made over 50 trips to Vietnam. Lieutenant General Victor H. Krulak retired in the 1968 and is the author of First to Fight: An Inside View of the U.S. Marine Corps.


According to the book description of First to Fight: An Inside View of the U.S. Marine Corps, “In this riveting insider's chronicle, legendary Marine General "Brute" Krulak submits an unprecedented examination of U.S. Marines—their fights on the battlefield and off, their extraordinary esprit de corps. Deftly blending history with autobiography, action with analysis, and separating fact from fable, General Krulak touches the very essence of the Corps: what it means to be a Marine and the reason behind its consistently outstanding performance and reputation.


Krulak also addresses the most basic but challenging question of all about the Corps: how does it manage to survive—even to flourish—despite overwhelming political odds and, as the general writes, "an extraordinary propensity for shooting itself in the foot?" To answer this question Krulak examines the foundation on which the Corps is built, a system of intense loyalty to God, to country, and to other Marines. He also takes a close look at Marines in war, offering challenging accounts of their experiences in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. In addition, he describes the Corps's relationship to other services, especially during the unification battles following World War II, and offers new insights into the decision-making process in times of crisis. First published in hardcover in 1984, this book has remained popular ever since with Marines of every rank.”

First to Fight: An Inside View of the U.S. Marine Corps (Bluejacket Books)
Victor H. Krulak  More Info

According to a reader of First to Fight: An Inside View of the U.S. Marine Corps, “I must admit that this book was a big surprise to me. Picking up what most books on the Marines Corps leave out. Not only did General Krulak give me a new perspective on the Corps's battles, tactics & it's inventiveness. But on it's vary existence as an elite fighting force.


Many times over the Corps had proved it's worth to her county on battlefields across the globe. But as the General points out (form first hand experience) - unknown to most are the political battles fought behind closed doors that saved the Marine Corps from becoming nothing more than a token force, or worst it's complete elimination. Even more surprising are some of "Great Americans" who (for various reasons) fought so hard to emasculate and/or eliminate the Corps outright. Americans like: Truman, Eisenhower, and Bradley to but name a few. While I'll always have great admiration for these individuals and their accomplishments - As a Marine alumni (77/81) I can't help but feel somewhat betrayed by these people and others like them.


First in Fight makes for engaging reading - as it covers Krulack's own experiences within the battle over the unification of the armed services. Moreover - this book explains how & why the U.S. Military chain of command (Executive office - down to the lowly Private) is set-up the way it is today.


Most people think that the erecting of the U.S. Flag on Mt. Suribachi's peak was the defining moment that guaranteed the existence of the Marine Corps. While I'd never take anything away from that historical event - thanks to this book I now realize that the Corps survival to date is partly in thanks to a few dedicated Marine senior officers, a Pro-Marine Congress and a supportive people.


On a personal note: I would make this mandatory reading for any Marine, as it gives new insight into our timeless inter-service rivalry with the other service branches.”

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