Telling stories is a powerful way to motivate and influence others. With the stakes being higher than ever, Gunnery Sgt. Brian Walgren gave an emotional speech to his Marines before the assault on Marjah, Afghanistan.
In his speech, he shared the story of when John Glenn, who at the time recently retired from the Marines, debated Howard Metzenbaum. They were both running for the United States Senate, with Metzenbaum being the incumbent. During the debate, Metzenbaum asked Glenn, “How can you run for Senate when you’ve never held a job?” Glenn was deeply disappointed that his political rival had the audacity to ask such a disrespectful question, but knew that this was an opportunity to point out why serving our country is more than just a job, but also an extremely heroic and important occupation.
Glenn reminded Metzenbaum of his service and said, “I served 23 years in the United States Marine Corps. I was through two wars. I flew 149 missions. My plane was hit by anti-aircraft fire on 12 different occasions.”
He also said to Metzenbaum that “I was in the space program. It wasn’t my checkbook, it was my life that was on the line. This was not a 9-to-5 job where I took time off to take the daily cash receipts to the bank.”
He challenged Metzenbaum to “go with me, as I went the other day to a Veterans Hospital, and look those men with their mangled bodies in the eye and tell them they didn’t hold a job.” He also said to him, “I ask you to go with me to any Gold Star mother, and you look her in the eye and tell her that her son did not hold a job.” Metzenbaum shouldn’t have made those ignorant claims that veterans like John Glenn have “never held a job.” Metzenbaum’s out of touch view on the sacrifices that our troops take to make our country the greatest on Earth eventually cost him the election and John Glenn was sworn into the United States Senate.
Gunnery Sgt. Brian Walgren greatly inspired his troops by sharing that story about John Glenn. He then explained to them that the Taliban has no morals and that they cowardly put their women and children up front to protect the men in the back. Waldren suggested that the troops “creep around them with a cup of coffee, slap’em on the f***ing shoulder and say, what the f*** is your problem b****?!”
Walgren’s passion and energy while telling this inspirational story about John Glenn motivated and excited his troops. They easily took out their opposition and reclaimed the city of Marjah.
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