Chief Petty Officers and Gunny Sergeants sound a lot alike!

UPDATE: The GySgt is Brian Walgren, and the backstory is here:

Times were tense before the initial February assault on Marjah, Afghanistan. A narcotics hub and Taliban stronghold, it was expected to be booby-trapped with improvised explosive devices and filled with insurgents waiting for a fight.

Obviously, the Corps took control of Marjah within days. It’s still a dangerous place, but one where Marine officials say they see hope, at least.

Before the assault, Gunnery Sgt. Brian Walgren, the company gunny for Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 6th Marines, fired up his troops with a gritty, heartfelt speech.

In many ways, it shows the best of the Corps. Occasionally profane but filled with bravado and pride, it it was delivered to ready 1/6′s Marines for a battle in which not everyone would come home alive.


Seeking a good way to mark today’s 235th Marine Corps Birthday, I sought out those involved in the video above. It was created by Cpl. Charles Mabry, a Marine who was attached to 1/6 to record history for Combat Camera. Gunny Walgren didn’t know it at the time, but Mabry recorded the speech, and posted it in March against video of a small, white puppy that wandered up to 1/6 Marines in Afghanistan in January.

Reached for comment last week, Walgren said the speech was “never supposed to be caught on camera.” He acknowledged their may be some benefit to the Corps from the video being seen so many times, but deflected attention to his 1/6 Marines, praising them for their professionalism and bravery.

“The fact that it’s on YouTube, there’s nothing I can do about that,” he said. “That speech was for them. That was our moment.”



About Erick Brockway

Living in Camarillo, CA, about 45 miles North of LA. I have a son, and two daughters. Working two jobs (welcome to California life), plus a (now retired) reservist in the US Navy Seabees so life is busy!
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