The United States Marine Corps: Background information when reading Matterhorn

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Matterhorn

A Novel of the Vietnam War

by Karl Marlantes

Matterhorn
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  • First Published:
    Mar 2010, 592 pages
    Paperback:
    May 2011, 640 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Kim Kovacs

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Beyond the Book:
The United States Marine Corps

The United States Marine Corps (USMC) serves as a force-in-readiness within the United States security structure. Among other branches of the US military, it is unique in its ability to rapidly deploy a combined-arms task force to almost anywhere in the world within days. It is capable of entry into hostile or dangerous situations from the air, land and sea.

At its core, the group has always remained grounded in its genesis as an infantry unit, and this has made it different from other branches of the military. It continues to rely on mobile personnel versus advanced weaponry. Each Marine is trained as a gunman, regardless of position or area of responsibility, and each officer is trained as an infantry platoon commander. This structure has proven invaluable over time, for example during the attack at Wake Island in 1941, when all aircraft had been shot down. Marine pilots continued to fight as ground officers, leading supply clerks and cooks into battle. The Marine Corps...

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