Who Needs the Marines?

From the halls of Montezuma to the shores of redundancy

They are the nation's oldest fighting unit. Their stirring anthem and brave slogan -- "Semper Fidelis," always faithful -- have lifted patriotic hearts for 122 years. They have won some of the most revered battles in military history: Belleau Wood, Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima, Inchon. Their nicknames are synonyms for fierce fighting men: Jarheads, Leathernecks, Devil Dogs.

But now the U.S. Marine Corps is battling its most awesome and implacable enemy: the defense budget squeeze. Says Marine Commandant General Alfred Gray: "The coming budget climate creates the most difficult times for the Marines since World War II."

The corps's problem is to...

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