“Never leave your brother behind, and do your best to keep him alive.” - Joseph Cordileone, Silver Star recipient (Khe Sanh, Vietnam, 1967), when asked for advice for new recruits.
Tony Perry, at the LA Times, has a great story about two very un-recognized heroes finally getting recognition for their valor during the first Battle for Khe Sanh in 1967. With seventy-five percent of the Marines were either killed or wounded, two privates (also wounded and refusing evac) saved the day and many Marine lives:
...So many officers were killed in Vietnam that spring that the paperwork needed to officially acknowledge the courage of the two young Marines -- one from San Diego, one from Morro Bay -- was lost in the fog and blood of war.
At a recent reunion of Khe Sanh veterans, a retired major general heard of the oversight and vowed to make things right.
So on Friday morning, in a solemn ceremony at the San Diego boot camp, Joseph Cordileone received a Silver Star and Robert Moffatt received the Bronze Star...
Be sure to read the whole piece by Tony Perry. It is excellent.
As for the meaning of Semper Fi, aside from the quote up at the top of this post from one of the two Marines in the story, there's another example of Semper Fidelis in the story. A retired Major General righted a wrong for those two privates...