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Marine Blog #5 - Victor Krulak

Marine Blog #5 - Victor Krulak

Rank:  Lt. General

Hometown:  Denver, Colorodo


The heat on Okinawa was impressive.  A far cry from his childhood in Denver, but Brute was never a complainer.  He always pushed himself, harder and farther.  His will was solid iron, he had never been content to let others decide his fate.  He was a true Marine, after all.  Shorter than most, but packed with more piss and vinegar than entire regiments of enemy troops.  He saw ahead, he instinctively knew the shape of war and where combat was heading.  He had landed his batallion in an area packed with ten times as many enemy and had embarked on a cunning campaign of hell-bent warfare.


In his waking moments he was always thinking of better ways for the Marines to do their sworn duty.  He helped design the Higgins boats that were becoming standard Marine equipment for amphibious assaults.  As his men carefully manuevered and snuck their way around the Soloman Islands and then Okinawa he kept invisioning ways to use helicopter technology in war.  He was a fox, fast striking, fighting with cunning- not as a hammer and anvil but as a careful surgical knife ready to cut the heart out of a dangerous foe.


His men were devoted and loyal- willing to fight through the gates of hell with their commander.  Brute inspired confidence.  His plans always seemed to work- every command he was given was executed in an innovative, precise way.


He kept thinking back to the Solomans.  The raid was madness of the sort that won wars.  It was the sort of fight you went in to expecting to die.  Brute didn't die, however.  Instead, his mind was tapped to mastermind the plans for the invasion of Okinawa.  At night he slept his four hours and dreamed of bullets and hand grenades.  He understood war, and he understood why war hadn't taken his life.


He thought about the traps and the tunnels, the cunning of the enemy, the complacency.  A well entrenched enemy never expected a small raid.  Daring, mobility, and confusion were a better shield than the thickest plating on a battleship.  His superiors understood- not his methods, perhaps, but effectiveness.  The Marines have always been resourceful.  Marines do what works.  His methods worked.


And so it was that his plans and input were respected and used.  Throughout World War II and then in Korea and Vietnam he was a vital link in maintaining the Marines as an independent, powerful branch of the Armed Forces.  Without this man and his particular mix of bravado and cunning the Marines of today would look very different.  Semper Fi, Marine.



General Victor "Brute" Krulak addresses his fellow Marines.


HeroDecks would like you to check out the Thank You Foundation, a charitable organization that seeks to support our veterans, active service members, and their families.  Please give them your support at http://thethankyoufoundation.org/ , thank you.



Marine Blog #4 - Eddie S Ray

Marine Blog #4 - Eddie S Ray

Rank:  Colonel

Hometown:  Seattle, Washington


Eddie S Ray was in command- codename Barbarian 6, spearheading the assault on Baghdad in command of the 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battaltion in Operation Iraqi Freedom.  Their push had been hard and the USMC was ripping across desert roads faster than you can drive from Vegas to LA.  It was late February, 1991, and then Captain Ray was remembering his start in the Corps as a private those years ago.  He remembered his rise through the ranks and becoming an officer.  He remembered the wisdom of old warriors, true Marines who gave everything for their country.  He was to need that wisdom that hot desert morning.


He heard a report crackle through his radio- enemy tanks and artillery were massed at a nearby oil field on the flank.  He made a snap decision, instincts honed from years of disciplined service.  "This is Barbarian 6, we're on our way."


He turned his column toward the enemy and checked in with his scouts and rifleman.  "Order air support," he said in a commanding tone.


The sun was rising over the oil fields that morning.  The bombs and bursts of machine gun fire from plane and attack chopper sent enemy T-62s scattering like cockroaches.  Divisional command was watching closely as Ray maneuvered his column to stop the enemy retreat.  The smoke rising from the field obscured vision and conjured a late morning fog.  His scouts were well trained, however, and were able to direct the aerial assault as Ray's men fired shot and shell into an enemy fast melting into chaos.


His LAVs in a screen formation, a skilled Marine rifle platoon dug in to the north, scouts calling shots, and a full Cobra assault had weakened the enemy and nullified their attempt at retreat.  Now it was time for Ray's men to show the enemy how Marines fight.  He attacked with full force.


His men pressed the attack and listened to their commander in his cool, magnificent fury.  They pressed on and on through the field to the edge of the Emir's farm, destroying every target in site.


Ray's successful assault had destroyed 38 enemy vehicles, severely damaging their ability to wage war in the field.


He earned a Navy Cross for his bravery in the field that day.  Colonel Ray's military career spanned three decades as he rose with great skill from an enlisted private to the rank of colonel.  His wisdom as a warrior sets him apart and shows the world that Marine officers are both capable soldiers and scholars.  Any Marine would tell you to expect nothing but the best from a Marine.


As he would say, "the best way to get respect is by giving it."


Colonel Ray, in full decoration, dispensing wisdom on the eve of his retirement.






HeroDecks would like you to check out the Thank You Foundation, a charitable organization that seeks to support our veterans, active service members, and their families.  Please give them your support at http://thethankyoufoundation.org/ , thank you.

Marine Heroes #3 - Dakota Meyer

Marine Heroes #3 - Dakota Meyer

Rank:  Sergeant

Hometown:  Greensburg, Kentucky


Outside of a small village in rural Afghanistan not too long before, a platoon of Marines and supporters had gone silent in an area known to be infested with insurgents.  At least three Marines were thought dead, as was a corpsman serving as medic for the group.  Dakota Meyer ran a cloth over his brow, sweating in the hot Afghani September sun.  Modern Marine body armor was heavy and the task at hand nerve wracking even to an alert Marine sniper.  Dakota's team was a training team embedded in the region and working closely with local friendlies- but this was no training mission, it was go time.


Quickly drawing up a plan, Dakota rushed headlong through enemy fire.  A combination of providence and a lack of range time on the part of the insurgents kept him safe as he moved between cover and took the occasional well aimed shot at the tracer rounds thundering from the insurgent AK's.  The minutes seemed days as time slowed for Meyer, rushing ahead of his men, drawing fire, desperate to leave no Marine behind.


Eventually he reached the missing men, their bodies limp, stripped of weapons and all mortal posessions.  He let out a cry, frustrated, there was no way to save them but he could still do his duty.  He called in the friendly Afghans who were with him and together they fought back, sending expert rounds and supression fire at the enemy.  Like cowards, the insurgents ran for the hills and the area was secured.


The brave Marines who had given their lives were carefully brought to a safe location and extracted by the choppers.  During this time Dakota used his skilled sniper eyes to more completely search the area.  There were more insurgents.  He readied his rifle and with superior discipline and Marine grit sent dozens of insurgents running with their tails between their legs.  His men readied the machine gun on the gun truck and let loose devastating bursts of supression fire.


The enemy fired back, desperate.  The Marines didn't flinch through the hail of AK fire.  A stray round set a loud plink against a metal plate and spun off harmlessly into the soil.  One by one the insurgents started going down- and then they broke completely and ran.


He and his Marines personally secured the safety of a dozen wounded Marines and unpinned two dozen others that day.


For acting as a true and heroic Marine, Dakota earned a Medal of Honor.  He found out about his honor while working a construction job on the home front a few years later.


The next time you see a construction crew building that new high rise downtown, remember, one of them just might be a US Marine hero.



HeroDecks would like you to check out the Thank You Foundation, a charitable organization that seeks to support our veterans, active service members, and their families.  Please give them your support at http://thethankyoufoundation.org/ , thank you.

Marine Heroes #2 - John "Rip" Walter Ripley

Marine Heroes #2 - John "Rip" Walter Ripley

Rank:  Colonel

Hometown:  Radford, VA


A normal Easter morning would have brought to mind chocolate rabbits, eggs, laughing children with baskets of candy, and a fancy service at the local church.  The morning fog wouldn't include the ratatattat of machine gun fire or acrid smoke settling on hot Vietnamese jungle air most Easter mornings.  John "Rip" Ripley had been hanging beneath a bridge in Dong Ha for nearly three hours under heavy fire, fondly remembering the Easters of his chldhood as sweat and dirt washed over him and the sounds of gunfire refused to cease.  It was an exceptional, Marines kind of easter morning.


Easter 1972.  Rip had a satchel full of explosive charges ready to place at key points on the bridge.  These were no painted eggs for children to find in the yard and the satchel wasn't likely to be mistaken for an Easter basket .  The bridge had to be blown- it was a critical artery for the North Vietnamese in their push south against American interests in Saigon.  Rip knew that his success could buy the soldiers in the south precious time to train and entrench against the onslought- time South Vietnam desperately needed. 


Ripley's Raiders had prepared.  They were needed for actions like this.  The North Vietnamese had launched an Easter offensive and this bridge was the key.


Rip gritted his teeth as the continual buzzing of angry, lead bees surrounded him.  His arms became jelly as he swung his way around the underbelly of the bridge.  Sweat poured down his face and stung his eyes.  He carefully placed charge after charge, connecting them carefully for proper detonation.  After three hours of pain, heat, and hell he scrambled away from the bridge and hit the detonator.




In a kaleidoscope of light, shrapnel, and shredded metal one of the enemy's supply arteries was severed.  It's at this point any comparisons to Easter eggs cease- the fireworks show in Dong Ha on Easter 72' belongs in an Independence Day celebration.  It was a good day to be a Marine.


All of that work and planning worked.  Rip executed a marvelous, dangerous plan boldly.  Every second was a small eternity in which death seemed certain, but somehow Rip succeeded. No one knows if it was luck, the grace of God, or good old Marine grit that let Rip succeed on Easter morning, 72'.  The extra years bought for the south and the lives saved by the delayed advance prove John Walter Ripley a true US Marine hero.


The story of Ripley's Raiders and the bridge incident would go on to become required reading at the US Naval Academy.  He would go on to serve a full military career with the Marines and later in life acted as president and chancellor of what is now Southern Virginia University.  During later tours he earned the "Quad Body"- passing the world's four toughest military training programs:  the Army Rangers, Marine reconnaissance, Army Airborne and Britain's Royal Marines.  He is also distinguished as being the only Marine officer to be inducted into the US Army Ranger Hall of Fame.  OORAH!



HeroDecks would like you to check out the Thank You Foundation, a charitable organization that seeks to support our veterans, active service members, and their families.  Please give them your support at http://thethankyoufoundation.org/ , thank you.

Marine Heroes #1 - Joe "Smokey Joe" Foss

Marine Heroes #1 - Joe "Smokey Joe" Foss

Rank - Brigadier General

Hometown - Sioux Falls, South Dakota


Foss' Flying Circus checked in.  All systems go and one by one the Wildcats took to the sky.  The enemy was tough, experienced and deadly.  They were out there somewhere, high over the Pacific, looking to harm America's fleet and push forward to the west coast.   It was a sortie like any other, one mission among hundreds, thousands.  But it was a first for Joe.  It was October, 1942 and the air at home would be crisp and cool, Joe reflected as he checked his air speed.  Guadalcanal, though, was much further south than Sioux Falls, so the air outside, far below, was still warm and acrid with the stench of long combat.


They were sent to relieve another air group which had been engaged over the skies of Guadalcanal for months.  VMF-121 was there to see the job done.  Joe was ready.


Smokey Joe saw a glint of sunlight shimmering faintly in the distance, enemy planes.  Coming in fast.  Zeroes, Japan's most deadly aerial weapon, light but maneuverable and notoriously hard to kiss with machine gun fire.  The Flying Circus broke formation on his command and began a complex maneuver to flank the foe.  The experienced enemy airmen knew what to expect and countered with their own aeronautics.


Soon it was chaos, smoke, and gunfire.  The radio chattered back and forth, his wingmen holding their own.  Zeroes darted all around and Joe deftly dodged deadly cannon and machine gun fire.  The smoking trails of rockets lingered in the air.  Static and fuzz, then Joe heard, "there's one on your six!"


Joe did a figure 8 and juked the Zero on his tail.  He saw a bullet wiz by his cockpit, mere inches from the glass.  He looped behind the Zero and for a split second had the red sun of Japan in his crosshairs.


He fired.

Wildcat dogfight


The enemy scattered, but then Joe noticed that his plane was in dire straights.  He was shot up bad.  He swung around and gave orders to head home.  The first combat mission of Guadalcanal and his engine was dying.  "Farm boys, my engine's dying!"  he shouted into his radio.


Then he saw it.  Three of the enemy were closing from a distance on his tail.


He raced back to the airfield.  His engines were dead in the air so he sacrificed altitude and jettisoned his fuel to keep ahead of the Zeroes.  They were closing, their shots ringing closer.  His squadron kept them at bay as land and sea raced closer.  His heart was pounding in his chest, another shot and his Wildcat was likely to bust apart.  The airfield was close, then closer.


He dropped his wheels and prepared to land, boring ahead at breakneck speed.  The enemies on his tail were thankfully occupied with his brothers in arms as he touched down on the tarmac, traveling full speed.


This was to be the first of many such engagements.  In the following months Joe racked up 25 more confirmed kills and his Flying Circus 72 in total.  He was a terror of the skies and was awarded the Medal of Honor by FDR himself after Guadalcanal was seen through.


He later became a Republican Congressman and then governor of South Dakota and then Commissioner of the American Football League.  He hosted ABC's "The American Sprotsman" for three years and was later president of the NRA for two terms.  Smokey Joe lead a full and prosperous life that still honors America and the Marine Corps.  OORAH!



HeroDecks would like you to check out the Thank You Foundation, a charitable organization that seeks to support our veterans, active service members, and their families.  Please give them your support at http://thethankyoufoundation.org/ , thank you.

OORAH! The Marines Battle Heroes HeroDeck is here!

OORAH!  The Marines Battle Heroes HeroDeck is here!

Starting Friday the 21st HeroDecks is proud to present our new deck- Marines Battle Heroes.  This deck celebrates the proud Marines who have served their country with honor and who have built the Marine legend over generations.  52 heroic Marines from four eras of American combat history are a must for the Marine closest to you.  Our resident combat historians have done research on these fine men and women and our HeroBlog will be posting the stories of each and every Marine hero in the deck- one every few days, starting tomorrow.




For now- have a sneak peak at a few of our heroic Marines.


  Louis Cukela Marines Hero WWI HeroDecks Battle Hero  Eddie S Ray Marines Battle Hero

Green Bay HeroDeck Now In 4th Edition!

Green Bay HeroDeck Now In 4th Edition!

Good news Green Bay fans, our 4th edition Green Bay Football Heroes Herodeck has been released and is updated with six new players for our pantheon of Packers greats!  Fresh art from our professional artists and slotting by our most knowledgeable cheesehead Packers fan sports gurus makes the 4th edition the best one yet.  As always, these make wonderful gifts and party favors for the Packers fan closest to your remote.


New players in the deck include Aaron Rodgers, Clay Matthews, Charles Woodson, Tramon Williams, AJ Hawk, and BJ Raji.  Your perennial favorites are still there in uniform, ready score a touchdown at your next party.


Check out a few of the new cards:


Aaron Rodgers Quarterback Green Bay Packers Herodeck   BJ Raji Defensive Tackle Green Bay Herodeck  Clay Matthews Linebacker Green Bay Herodeck

Pittsburgh Fans!

Pittsburgh Fans!

Good news Pittsburgh fans!  The sixth edition of HeroDecks Pittsburgh Football Heroes is back and ready for your favorite fan!  All of your favorite players throughout Pittsburgh history are back, from before the Steel Curtain to the best of today.  Steelers fans are sure to enjoy this deck as gifts, at parties, or in their stocking come Christmastime.


New and changed for the sixth edition include Joey Porter, Jeff Hartings, LaMarr Woodley, Troy Polamalu, and Head Coach Mike Tomlin.  The updated cards look and feel great with professional artwork printed on casino quality poker cardstock.  Our resident football experts have ranked and placed the best Steelers players of the past and the present in one exciting deck.  Steelers fans are sure to love the new, updated art and roster.


Check out some of the updates:


Joey Porter, Pittsburgh Linebacker   Jeff Hardings, Offensive Line  LaMarr Woodley, Linebacker  Troy Polamalu, Defensive Back  Mike Tomlin, Head Coach

Are you ready White Sox fans?

Are you ready White Sox fans?


Your favorite South Siders are are back in July with a whole new edition by HeroDecks! Just in time for summer HeroDecks is getting into the game and showing our love for the beauty of baseball. This new run of our South Side Edition Chicago Baseball Heroes HerkDeck is updated with several new ChiSox heroes alongside all of your favorite White Sox greats.


The updated lineup includes modern favorites such as Jim Thome, John Danks, Gavin Floyd, Jermaine Dye, Carlos “THQ” Quentin, and Alexei “Cuban Missile” Ramirez. Old greats such as Shoeless Joe Jackson make their reappearance. The Sox are in top form and looking good with over 52 full color professionally drawn images and a long series of White Sox facts scrounged from the deepest annals of interesting baseball lore by our resident HeroDecks baseball experts.


Celebrate this baseball season with this new deck and cheer on the Sox as they strive to overtake Detroit and win the American League Central Division.


Who's your hero?

Good News Boston Fans!

Good News Boston Fans!

Coming July 2011 HeroDecks is releasing yet another run of our famous Boston Baseball Heroes HeroDeck!  Now in its 9th edition, the Red Sox deck has time and again proven to be a favorite with Boston fans around the country.  One of the great teams in American baseball, the Boston Red Sox have proven their mettle time and again with glove and bat, rounding out the bases with great home runs and crushing out the opposition with crafty hurling and solid fielding. 


2011 is shaping up to be another great season for the Sox and playing a round of cards with a Boston Baseball Heroes HeroDeck is the perfect way to brush up on your favorite Red Sox players and celebrate Boston's amazing baseball achievements.


We have carefully updated the deck for 2011 with two new cards for two great, current Red Sox players:  Jon Lester and Clay Bucholz.  Don't worry, you'll still find all of your old favorites here as well, carefully ranked by our expert baseball nuts through over 100 years of Boston baseball excellence.  Our artist has captured the essence of Boston hardball heroism and distilled it into 52 heroic figures.