Follow Up on Marine Aviation Anniversary

Last week, I circulated a piece discussing an eight-page advertising special in The Washington Post, paid for by Lockheed-Martin and Boeing (and a credit union). The huge ad commemorated the 100th anniversary of Marine Corps aviation. In the special advertising section the Marine Corps' Commandant and Deputy Commandant for Aviation, among others, proclaimed that Marine air was wholly focused on supporting "ground troops," especially while engaged in combat—thereby demonstrating the Marines' warrior ethic and devotion to one of its proudest traditions. Unsurprisingly, the ad also loudly touted Boeing's V-22 and Lockheed's F-35B as the contemporary embodiment of the Marine air tradition.

David Evans is a retired Marine. He retired as a Lieutenant Colonel, after which he worked as a widely respected journalist for the Chicago Tribune. When I sent him my piece on the Marines' self praise, paid for by Lockheed and Boeing, he immediately responded that the proclamation of a focus only on air support for troops in combat rang hollow. I asked him to write up his concerns; the following 1,500 word analysis was the result, Vow to 'Support Ground Troops' Rings Hollow. It makes important and informative reading. It exposes the sophistry of the ad's assertions, and it is an excellent explanation of how technology proclaimed to be a leap ahead can in reality be a step backwards--at great additional cost. The discussion of the V-22 and F-35 compared to cheaper, more effective systems—available earlier—is very instructive.

Last week's piece on the Marine's use of Lockheed-Martin and Boeing funds to commemorate its 100 year aviation history is here.