It has come to my attention that the term Devil Dog is a reference to the tenacity of the US Marines in combat during the battle of Belleau Wood during World War I. This astonishing lack of knowledge on my part is both ironic and somewhat comforting.
The nickname Devil Dog was bestowed on me by my compatriot in arms Francois deLay du Pompideau (thats the two of us above in the middle of the vineyards outside Puligny-Montrachet, dapper in our bicycle helmuts) during our recent trip to France in the region of Champagne and Burgundy, which, by coincidence, is right near the famed battlefield of Belleau Wood. Francois bestowed this honorium on me in apparent reference to my ongoing willingness to tread with oblivious ferocity into any thicket or encounter with an eagerness bordering on recklessness, with a smile on my face and a bottle of wine in my hand. I took the nickname as a compliment, as travel should always be indulged with a fervor for the adventure that lies at hand, leaving no stone unturned in the pursuit of inhaling all an experience has to offer without trepidation or concern.
Upon returning to Los Angeles after a raucus and honestly, quite fabulous week in the company of my compatriots, and with our nicknames now fully ingrained in our conciousness, I embraced the name and began my Devil Dog Travel blog unaware of its origins or pre-existing history until a couple of days ago. Well shame on me for having been unaware of this nugget of history....but
Now that I know the antecedents of the name I am proud to honor both the sacrifice and tenacity of the US Marines in that fateful battle that turned the tide of WWI, and also in recognition of the sacrifice and fervor of all Marines in serving their country in battle ever since, especially in these times, with our nation at war. I use the term to denote a traveller willing to engage any situation with unabashed joy and conceptual abandon. It is fitting that the nickname that coined the phrase for this blog came from the same region of France where the label was first coined, and while I cannot begin to reach the depth of honor and sacrifice that it is meant to imply towards the US Marines who served and fought and sacrificed in WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, the Cold War, the Gulf War, Iraq and Afghanistan, and who serve today....I am honored to have adopted the nickname...if quite by accident....and whatever meaning is implied, I mean no disrespect by my appropriation of the term.
But now that I do know its origin I have a new found respect for the double edged sword of its use....fearless warrior on behalf of the United States, and intrepid traveller seeking the outer reaches of joy in all journeys across the planet. I in no way compare my efforts to these brave men who have gone before and serve now, but I honor their integrity with my inadvertant but somehow appropriately sly use of their banner as a tribute to them and as an exemplory vantage point of how to approach the adventure in life that lies before all of us. Semper Fi.