General Raymond G. Davis (USMC Ret.)

The "About Face, America!" program, if supported, can restore the foundation values of our nation.

There is a challenge facing us today that calls for all concerned citizens to join with America’s military veterans in reversing the present moral and ethical decline which threatens the stability of our society. In my opinion, a confused ethical relativism has replaced a clear sense of principle. People do what they wish with little or no moral guidance, and the consequences are devastating.

The time to act is now. Further delay will relinquish America’s key role in world leadership. "The Stars and Stripes" stands for a great, free nation increasingly blessed with diversity. To preserve unity amid this diversity, we must return to our historic core values. If supported, they will continue to provide a cohesive national identity. Good people with caring hearts and clear minds need to take concerted action. If not, America could self-destruct. "About Face, America!" is determined to prevent this disaster.

Consider the following:

• We face a federal debt in excess of over six trillion dollars. Interest payments are becoming the largest part of the national budget. Our grandchildren could be bankrupted paying for our excesses today.

• Taxes take nearly half our income and will do so for decades to come.

• Our culture is being destroyed by rockers and rappers seemingly aided and abetted by the news and entertainment media.

• Our education system lags behind other leading industrialized nations.

• Benefits promised to those who served in the military are not being fully honored.

• Our Armed Forces are being down-sized, and our country’s lack of readiness may cost many thousands of lives.

Through "About Face, America!" 27 million veterans, those in service, their families, and friends are encouraged to join together in leading our nation in a new direction based on the following themes:

• Freedom is not free.

• Strength brings peace.

• Readiness saves lives.

• Veterans rights are sacred.

• Our culture must be turned around.

Veterans are a national treasure and are well positioned to provide the leadership essential for success. They have numbers. They have served our nation with honor and loyalty. They possess special dedication based on their military experience. They display special dedication to family and community. They have a strong cohesiveness developed through the bonds of military service.

We must remember the extreme cost of freedom to America in this century. Visit our national cemeteries. See the acres of white crosses and markers. They represent the high cost of the freedom we enjoy today. In our great bastion of freedom, we must be prepared to serve the noble cause of liberty. We must inform and educate citizens to the dangers of a weakened resolve and the neglect of our Armed Forces. The great patriot Patrick Henry set the pattern we must follow: "Give me liberty or give me death." We cannot protect freedom with a half commitment. We must pursue total victory, for strength brings peace.

Pearl Harbor awakened America to these facts. Our Armed Forces were not ready. Units drilled with broom handles. Often, no rifles were available. Still only just starting to receive supplies and equipment when the bombs fell on our fleet at Pearl Harbor, we hurried to the Pacific to block aggression, but we had only partially equipped and partially trained units. The cost was high casualties. Within hours after Pearl Harbor, we, as a nation, were fully committed to the defeat of our enemies and to their unconditional surrender. Then, in South Korea, we again lost young warriors, more than 53,000, which might well not have happened if we had maintained ready forces. In Vietnam, our limited commitment and failure to support our field forces led to the destruction of our national will. Again, more than 50,000 lives were lost.

By contrast, during the Persian Gulf crisis, the world witnessed one of the greatest military performances in the history of warfare. This heroic feat did not just happen—it was by careful design. With time on our side, ground formations were equipped with new, sophisticated weapons. We had doubled the size of our active fleet, and had incredible advances in missile and air launch capabilities. In the air, the most modern aircraft with stealth and stand-off smart bombs dominated the skies. Most important of all, we had all-volunteer, well-trained personnel. When Saddam struck, we were ready. In four months, we positioned more U.S. Forces in the Middle East than we got into Vietnam in four long, tragic years. The immediate insertion of this massive ready force was the key element to our success. Hindsight, however, tells us we stopped too soon. Peace comes through strength—and we can never lower our guard again!

When our sons and daughters pledge their lives in service, they are promised much in terms of health, education, and welfare. These solemn promises must be kept. After many years of delay, Congress recently passed bills to honor some of these sacred commitments. Among these gains are improved health care, better employment opportunities, education benefits, a cost of living allowance equal to civilian counterparts, more justice in conducting an appeal, and pay raises for junior active duty personnel. We must protect these recent gains.

Clearly, America can make an about face in all areas just as we have started to do in veterans’ benefits. As veterans, friends and family, let us join as one force to return America to its proper position of leader-ship in all things—moral, social, political, technological, and military. To learn more about this effort, please contact me using the address at the head of this article or via the World Wide Web at

Raymond G. Davis
was awarded the Medal of Honor for heroic action in the Korean War. He retired from the US Marine Corps on March 31, 1972, after more than 33 years of active duty. His last assignment was as Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps. General Davis was born in Fitzgerald, Georgia, and graduated with a BS Degree in 1938 from the Georgia School of Technology. After graduation, he accepted an appointment as a Marine Second Lieutenant on June 27, 1938. He went on to serve with great valor and distinction in action in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam, earning, in addition to the Medal of Honor, two distinguished Service Medals, two Silver Stars, two Legion of Merits, and numerous other awards, service medals, and honors throughout his long service to the nation.