American Cobra Pilot: A Marine Remembers a Dog and Pony Show
by Captain J.L. "Bigsby" Groom

"Capitalism is always racing to the bottom to find the best product for the best price."

A Marine Cobra helicopter pilot located off the coast of South Korea reviews his squadron’s mission statement. He completed his flight training in Okinawa where his unit’s goal was to provide combat ready aviation forces to the Marine Air Ground Task Force. He writes about the research programs available to the average Marine, compensation of the officers, the emphasis on women and minorities, and the scene at the base’s grocery store. Celebrities and other leaders such as Caroline Kennedy, John Kerry, and Chuck Hagel pay a visit to the Marines and give speeches about how relevant and important Marines are.

The theme of the story is best expressed from a quote from John Kerry’s speech: “You are the guardians of globalization. You are the security apparatus for this great race to the bottom.” It is also shown in a later quote by a general: “Gentlemen, this is why we fight, for cheap electronics for American consumers.” This mindset bothers the author because he realizes his squadron and the Marines are being used as a dog and pony show.

The themes of globalization are tied to the finale of the book in which the acceptance of the mission of the Marines ends up saving the author’s life. Scenes in this book are very descriptive and make the reader feel that he is present, such as the lively grocery store theme and the description of using the HELLFIRE missile. The author has painstakingly researched war history and the reasons for the Marines’ existence. The author intelligently tells stories of Kennedy, Kerry, and Hagel.

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