Friday, May 25, 2007


Upon completion of a long training evolution, the Marines and our counterparts returned to the small base just off of the coast. An afternoon of their version of BBQ, drinking, and the inevitable toasts were the prelude to the night's festivities. The LtCol. in charge of their forces was the MC of sorts, and at one point had a number of his and our Officers up on the makeshift stage. There was an exchange of token gifts, to memorialize the occasion, and as the afternoon progressed (and the cerveza kept flowing), a drinking game just kind of evolved right in front of us. I don't really remember exactly how it started, but at certain points in the LtCol.'s speech, I noticed all of the host nation Officers would lift their beers, proclaim "listos para vencer" and throw back a swallow. Not to be out done, our own Officers would raise their beers as well and respond with our "Semper Fidelis".

After more than a few beers, exchanged gifts, and indigenous music, their Officers were still going strong. Ours were... not really conditioned to the high level of our hosts. A few of our Captains were still in the game, even drinking with their counterparts, mumbling their phrase if not a little bit inebriatedly "lishtos pa' vensher". It was pretty good beer, after all.

The most memorable part of the afternoon, for me (and other than watching our Officers get sloshed at 1700), was the toast at the end of the celebration. The LtCol. was emphasizing his gratitude on behalf of his forces for the successful training and that he hoped that we were able to gain valuable insight as well (we most definitely did). His toast, as remembered many years ago and translated into English, went something like this.

Today... we drink as friends.
Tomorrow... we may very well fight as enemies.
Forever... we will be brothers in arms.

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