Marine Corps to be Redesignated America's 411 Force
Tip of the Spear Now More Like Shaft
USS Essex prepares to unload 120 Marines to accommodate gear for 12 Navy SEALs
RAYBURN CONGRESSIONAL BUILDING, CAPITOL HILL — In the wake of multiple failures to respond to the kind of international crises long the province of the Marine Corps, Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee Representative Mike Rogers (R-AL), directed Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. David Berger to apply with AT&T to have the USMC’s phone number relisted from 911 (America’s Force in Readiness) to 411 (America’s Directory Assistance).
Commandant Berger reminded Congress that standard messaging rates may apply
Berger appeared before the HASC on April 28, 2023. As the leader of a force long trading on crisis response as a selling point, Berger admitted the Corps' inability to support recent noncombatant evacuation operations in Sudan, and a similar failure to react to humanitarian assistance operations in Turkey, left him feeling as though he had “let down the combatant commander.”
Particularly galling for the Corps’ top leader was the rescue of the Khartoum embassy’s Marine Security Guard Detachment by Special Operations Forces. Army Green Berets and Navy SEALs evacuated the Marines, along with more than 100 staff members from the American Embassy in Khartoum, Sudan on April 22, 2023.
Asked about the issue during a DanceFit Class in the Pentagon Athletic Center, Commander of European Command and Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, Gen. Christopher Cavoli said, “Yeah, well…kind of.” Leaning into the conversation while bouncing to Lizzo’s “About Damn Time,” Gen. Michael Langley, the Commander of Africa Command said, “Not so much let down, just disappointed. I mean they do advertise themselves as ‘America’s 911 force.’”
Both humanitarian assistance operations and noncombatant evacuation operations have long been core missions of the Marine Expeditionary Unit, but recent Navy shipping woes have left Marines far less expeditionary. Nonetheless, Marine Corps Public Affairs Officer Col. Seymour Brightside, said Berger does not see the phone number change as a demotion. “This is all a part of Force Design 2030. We are building a Corps that is smaller, lighter, and more mobile. Make no mistake, when the commandant says ‘stand-in force’ he doesn’t envision them just standing around. When SOCOM arrives to save the day, Marines can also stand and point them toward the fighting, y’know, like traffic cops. This is the ‘information age’ after all.”
Headquarters Marines Corps published guidance last Friday directing pen-changes to all doctrine containing the phrase ‘locate, close with, and destroy’, replacing it with ‘find, point, and holler.’ Along with the new number, Berger will be swapping out his iPhone 4 for a reconditioned iPhone 10. Said the commandant’s aide-de-camp, “He’s pretty excited. He’s been due for an upgrade for a while, but uh, we’re still in the Marine Corps. We do more with less.”
Unfortunately, the changeover has not been seamless, a fact illustrated by a recent tweet from the official USMC Twitter account,
Calls to the Marine Corps’ former 911 number are currently going straight to voicemail, but as of this morning, the inbox is full. The new 411 number will not be activated until the Navy provides Berger $38.00 to fund the number change, money currently forecasted for the 2025 budget submission. Reached by text for comment, Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Michael Gilday said, “That will all depend on prioritization and there’s this sweet-ass kegerator some sailors out at Pearl wanted, so I don’t know.”