¡Viva la Roja, Blanca y Azul! – The Story of Sgt James Lopez, US Marine Corps

Sgt. James Lopez, one of the Teheran heroes.

While the majority of illegal aliens have arguably originated from Mexico, President Trump is threatening the Mexican government with additional tariffs if they don’t start controlling the flood in illegals from Central America transiting through Mexico.

Yet in wide swaths of the United States with little to no exposure to fellow citizens of Latino heritage, many non-Latinos (thanks in no small part to the news media) are under the mistaken impression that most, if not all Latinos are sympathetic to illegal aliens.

That’s actually quite far from the truth.

As cited in a poll conducted by McLaughlin & Associates, President Trump enjoys a 50 percent job approval by Latino citizens (48 percent disapproval, 2 percent no opinion), which is 1 percent higher than the national overall rating.

Interestingly enough, the same research noted that among US citizens of Latino heritage, Rep. Nancy Pelosi enjoys only a 37 percent approval, and a 45 percent disapproval rating.

But with all that aside, one the greatest acts of individual defiance to terrorism would be that of Marine Sgt. James “Jimmy” Lopez, who was held hostage for 444 days after anti-American thugs of the Ayatollah Khomeini stormed the US Embassy in Teheran, Iran.

Never heard of Jimmy Lopez? Don’t feel bad. His is one of the greatest examples of patriotism you’ve never heard of.

In fact, it was President Reagan who cited Lopez for his heroic conduct and quick thinking. As reported by UPI, “Lopez [was] singled out by President Reagan for particular bravery in blocking Iranians as they stormed the embassy…”

Thankfully, there is an account of Lopez’s actions that gets much more specific. As reported by the New York Times on Jan. 22, 1981;

For most of the past year Jesse and Mary Lopez kept the secret bottled up inside them. Their pride was nearly boundless but they feared that disclosure would place their 22-yearold son, Sgt. James M. Lopez of the Marine Corps, in greater danger from the Iranian militants holding him hostage in Teheran.

But early this morning, when Sergeant Lopez, 50 pounds lighter and with his shoulder-length hair tied back with a yellow ribbon, walked off a bus in Wiesbaden, West Germany, and called home, the secret came tumbling out.

‘I know about what you did over there the first day,’ said Mrs. Lopez, her voice breaking with joy and relief. According to accounts from several Americans, when trouble broke out on the morning of Nov. 4, 1979, at the American Embassy in Teheran, Sergeant Lopez quickly invoked his authority as the lone Marine guard on duty at the consulate, one of several buildings in the embassy compound.

Drove Back Invaders

In his best drill-instructor manner, Sergeant Lopez barked orders to the 70 or so people huddled inside. Among them were Iranian citizens who had been seeking visas and 14 other Americans, including several American Foreign Service officers many years his senior.

For nearly three hours, Sergeant Lopez, who had been an embassy guard only a month, managed to stave off the angry Iranian demonstrators outside, according to these accounts, securing the doors with coat hangers, herding his charges to the more secure second floor, driving back the invaders with tear gas grenades and destroying the visa stamps.

Former hostages U.S. Marine Corps SSgt Michael Moeller (left) and Sgt James Lopez (center), and U.S. Marine Corps Sgt Paul Lewis (right), pose with a hospital nurse and an Air Force MP. The 52 hostages are spending a few days in a US Air Force hospital after their release from Iran prior to their departure for the United States.

Finally, as the situation grew more desperate, Sergeant Lopez gave the order to leave, dividing those inside into small groups of Americans and Iranians in hopes that they would attract less attention and dispatching them at intervals out of a side door, American diplomats recalled.

Most of the Americans were recaptured soon afterward as they tried to make their way to safety through the back streets of Teheran. But five of the American diplomats were able to evade the mob and, with a sixth man they encountered on the street, ultimately took refuge in the Canadian Embassy. Using false Canadian passports, the six left Iran last Jan. 29 and when they reached the United States, Kathleen Stafford, a consular assistant, telephoned Mr. and Mrs. Lopez to tell them of their son’s bravery.

‘He Didn’t Lose His Composure’

‘By keeping the consulate secure he made it possible for us to go,’ said Mark Lijek, one of those who escaped and who is now a consular officer in Hong Kong. ”He was the one all of us looked to to tell us what to do. He may have been the most junior guy there, but he was certainly up to the occasion. He didn’t get excited, he didn’t lose his composure.’

‘He was standing there and overseeing the entire effort and putting his own safety last,’ Mrs. Stafford’s husband, Joseph, who is also a Foreign Service officer, recalled. ‘I’m grateful and I’m sure everyone in the consulate that day is grateful. He performed superbly.’

Under normal circumstances there would have been two Marine guards on duty at the consulate, the second assigned to the visa section. But the section had been closed in anticipation of trouble and Sergeant Lopez was alone when the mob began to form outside.

The rules of engagement for Marine embassy guards prohibit firing outside a compound without specific State Department approval or firing inside except in defense of American lives.

‘He Beat Them Back’

‘It was a tribute to Jim that he was able to control a group that size,’ said Mr. Lijek. ‘He was the one that actually destroyed the visa plates. He never seemed at a loss throughout the whole thing. There was nobody there to help him. At one point, the students tried to break into the consulate through one of the windows. He beat them back. I think he threw a smoke grenade, or tear gas.’

‘It was tear gas,’ said Robert Anders, another of the escaped diplomats, who works at the State Department and who confirmed Mr. Lijek’s account and added his own praise for Sergeant Lopez.

For much of the next 14 months, Sergeant Lopez told his family on the telephone, he was ”kept in some really bad-hole places, like closets.” But, he said, ”at least I got some of the others out, right?”

Mrs. Lopez was also cheered to learn that, even in captivity, her son had continued to try to resist the militants, at one point scrawling, ‘Viva La Roja, Blanca y Azul‘ on a wall at the embassy compound. But the militants, Mrs. Lopez said, ‘never figured out’ that the words were Spanish for ‘Long Live the Red, White, Blue.

Last night, as the freed hostages stepped off an airplane that had stopped in Algiers on the trip from Iran to West Germany, the tension in the family’s crowded living room became nearly unbearable. Sergeant Lopez, in a red T-shirt, was one of the last to disembark, and when he appeared on the screen the tension gave way to pandemonium.

‘Momma, he has long hair,’ shouted Marcie, Sergeant Lopez’s 10-year-old sister. But, speaking with her a few hours later by telephone from Wiesbaden, he told her that he would have to cut it off. ‘Honey, I have to,’ he said. ‘I’m in the Marine Corps.’

Having been held hostage, he told his family, was ‘like Mark Twain said about being tarred and feathered – if it wasn’t for the honor, I’d rather do without.’

French president honors US Marines on 100th anniversary of saving France

Back in 1983 I was a young Drill Instructor Sgt. Whiteman, freshly minted product of DI School at Parris Island, SC, I can say with all honesty that one of the highlights of my Marine Corps career was seeing a visiting group of survivors of the Battle of Belleau Wood.

The youngest of the group was no younger than 80. You see, it was somewhat common back then for boys as young as 15 and 16 to join the Corps.

And every single one of these true American heroes I saw that day trained at the same sweltering, godforsaken, sand flea-infested sandbar that I now called my duty station. It was truly a humbling experience.

I kept in mind that 9,000 of my fellow Marines (and their buddies) never returned or if they did survive the battle, came home shot to pieces. Some blinded, some missing one or more limbs, some suffered the loss of their very minds. When it was finally over, there were 7,000 wounded Marines, almost 2,000 dead.

Averaging out at 346 dead or wounded Marines every singe day during the course of the battle, it took almost the entire month of June (1-26 June, 1918) for a singular Marine Brigade to stop the final Imperial German army’s offensive of The Great War.

Sadly, most Americans have no idea what their Marine Corps achieved a century ago in the Bois de Belleau (“Belleau Forest” or “Belleau Wood”). Namely, that relatively small Marine Brigade changed the course of world history.

To commemorate this year’s 100th anniversary of the American victory,  President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron, along with First Ladies Melania Trump and Brigitte Macron, planted on White House grounds an oak sapling that first sprouted in the hallowed battlefield.

As reported by Richard Sisk Military.com (despite its name, is civilian owned);

French President Emmanuel Macron said Sunday that he is bringing a living tribute to “Devil Dog” Marines who fell in the World War I battle of Belleau Wood to the White House this week as a symbol of the two nations’ enduring ties.

The battle of Bois de Belleau, or Belleau Wood, about 60 miles north of Paris near the Marne River in the Champagne region, has entered Marine Corps lore. It’s best known among Marines as the place where they were first called “Devil Dogs” for their fierce defense in June 1918 that blunted the German spring offensive.

A dispatch from the German front lines to higher headquarters described the Americans blocking their way and mounting counter-offensives as fighting like “Teufel Hunden,” or “Hounds of Hell.”

Once they consolidated their positions, the Marines would attack six times through mustard gas and withering machine-gun fire before the Germans were driven from the wood. An estimated 2,000 Marines were killed.

An official German report later described the Marines as “vigorous, self-confident, and remarkable marksmen.”

Army Gen. John J. “Black Jack” Pershing, commander of the American Expeditionary Force on the Western Front, marveled at the tenacity of the “Devil Dogs” of Belleau Wood in a quote that has also become part of the Marine legend.

“The deadliest weapon in the world is a United States Marine and his rifle,” Pershing said.

The oak sapling Macron will give to Trump was taken from a site near the so-called “Devil Dog Fountain,” where U.S. troops gathered after the battle of Belleau Wood. The fountain’s spout is in the shape of the head of a bull mastiff.

Devil Dog Fountain, Belleau, France – U.S. Marine Corps Gen. Glenn M. Walters, assistant commandant of the Marine Corps, drinks from Devil Dog Fountain, Belleau, France, May 28, 2017.

Prior to the battle itself, the German forces launched their final major offensive on the Western Front.

The Allied armies were all in full retreat, the road to Paris lay wide open. If the French capital fell, the war would have doubtlessly dragged on for years and uncounted thousands of more dead and wounded.

As a French unit in retreat urged the Marines to join them, Capt. Lloyd W. Williams of the 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines, responded with the now-famous;

“Retreat? Hell, we just got here.”

As they say, the rest is history.

Just days after the battle, the French Army renamed re-named Bois de Belleau to be known forever on all French maps as the Bois de la Brigade de Marine (Forest of the Marine Brigade).

“Come on, you sons of bitches, do you want to live forever?” – 1st Sgt Dan Daly urging his Marines forward during a bayonet attack on the entrenched Germans.

Obama’s America: Heavily armed bureaucrats now outnumber US Marines

cb2665ebe8408a06f98fc81065c96614Ronald Reagan once famously quipped that nine of the most terrifying words in the English language are “I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.” Yet if The Great Communicator were alive today he very well may tack on four more words to his anxiety inducing salutation, “… and I’m heavily armed.” Continue reading “Obama’s America: Heavily armed bureaucrats now outnumber US Marines”

Obama: Working Out Near Marines Intimidates Him

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Squeals of girlish delight.

Possibly to be placed in the “What Was Your First Hint?” file, the perpetually vacationing Barack Obama admitted that Marines make him “feel small”.

As reported by Newsmax.com, “The only problem I’ve got when I’m here is having to work out with Marines in the gym,” Obama said during his annual Christmas Day visit with U.S. troops at Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe Bay. “Because I generally feel like your commander in chief is in pretty good shape, and then I get next to some guy, you know, curling 100 pounds and it makes me feel small.”

And Obama has good reason to feel insecure. While attending meetings in Poland during the summer of 2014, candid video was leaked to the press of Obama hitting the gym. Well, maybe not hitting the gym… swishing would be more apt.

Doing his best Pee-Wee Herman imitation, America’s Commander-in-Chief was seen grimacing while working out with girl’s 10-pound weights. Possibly not into his workout, Obama was also seen yawning in-between sets.

US Marine’s dying act was to save innocent people from harm

3mtsSince 1775, member of America’s Marine Corps have been noted for extraordinary acts of personal heroism both on and off the field of battle. The final acts of Major Taj T. Sareen, 34, of San Mateo County, California prove true the old Marine Corps adage, “Old breed? New breed? There’s not a damn bit of difference so long as it’s the Marine breed.” Continue reading “US Marine’s dying act was to save innocent people from harm”

Marine Major faces the boot on same possible charges against Hillary Clinton

hillary-clinton-tumblrThe plight of Marine Corps Major Jason Brezler could be described at a minimum as everything old is new again. However, on the other side of the coin, the case of Major Brezler could also be one of the premier cases of political hypocrisy in the history of the American Republic. As reported by the Daily Caller on Aug. 15, 2015, the Marine Reserve officer is still fighting his dismissal from the Corps for sending via his private email account classified information, which in the broadest of terms, is the same situation presidential contender Hillary Clinton finds herself in.

Continue reading “Marine Major faces the boot on same possible charges against Hillary Clinton”

Time for the Aussie – Israeli solution


If you like your failed Operation Inherent Resolve, you can keep your failed Operation Inherent Resolve.

Four dead Marines, one wounded Marine, one wounded sailor, one wounded police officer in Chattanooga. Don’t forget the two soldiers killed a few years ago at the Army recruiting office in Arkansas, or those cut down at the Washington Navy Yard, or those slaughtered at Fort Hood, or the scores killed or wounded at the Boston Marathon, etc, etc. The list goes on.

Continue reading “Time for the Aussie – Israeli solution”

Walking with robotic legs, Marine decorated for personal valor in combat


Captain Derek Herrera, USMC (Retired) vowed he would leave his beloved Corps the same way he came in, on his own two legs. But as reported by KTXL of Sacramento, Calif. on Nov. 23, 2014, and also by the Los Angeles Times on Nov. 22, 2014, the disabled Leatherneck departed the service of his country not only donning ground-breaking medical equipment, but also with a rather prestigious medal presented for his personal valor on the field of battle pinned to his chest.

Continue reading “Walking with robotic legs, Marine decorated for personal valor in combat”

The latte salute: The latest in the evolution of the ObaSalute


According to the rather boring sounding Marine Corps Order 1510.60B, otherwise known as the Marine Corps official History, Customs and Courtesy orders, the hand salute originated as a sign to a would-be aggressor that any given individual was approaching not in search of individual combat, but with friendship and goodwill, hence the showing of an empty right (fighting) hand. With the passing of time the raised right hand developed into the tipping of the hat, or at least touching the brim of the hat, as a sign of respect either to a social or military superior, or to any lady. Early in the 19th century, the proverbial tip ‘o the cap became the sharp, snappy hand salute we as a nation expect from any professional in uniform, be they military, law enforcement or firefighters.

Continue reading “The latte salute: The latest in the evolution of the ObaSalute”