Generals Say “Time To Fix the Marine Corps” And I Couldn’t Agree More… Sort Of… (Part 2)

Grumpy amos

[This series is a response to a pair of recent article in the Marine Corps Times: “Commandant calls for new crackdown” & “Generals say it’s time to fix the Marine Corps”.]

 

My second suggestion to the top brass is once again concerns duty. Brig Gen Kennedy insists that “duty is a privilege, really. It’s to watch over the flock.” Now frankly, Kennedy was a 2nd LT in 1985. I think it’s safe to say that he hasn’t stood a day’s duty in at least the past 20 years. What’s more as an officer, I think it’s fair to say that he’s never been the new PFC who has to pull a 18+ hour shift at the duty desk, with no relief, because his Cpl decided that Duty was a good excuse to catch up on some much needed sleep. So in that respect at least, Kennedy’s ignorance of how Duty works in the Marine Corps can be excused.

That being said, I like Kennedy’s notion of Duty NCO’s being proactive. I absolutely think that Marines should take their duty seriously, and be proactive in preventing stupid incidents. The problem is that Kennedy doesn’t have the slightest clue how to make it happen. I have four major suggestions:

  1. As noted in my previous post: Utility Uniforms, only! No Marine is going to be proactive in preventing incidents when he’s too worried that he might get a spot on his shirt.
  2. Two NCOs on Duty at a time. In this case I agree with Amos, but probably for different reasons. If I had a nickel for every time a PFC or LCpl pulled the bulk of a shift because the NCO felt like playing xbox or sleeping instead, Forbes would be writing a story about me. That leaves junior Marines with the impression that Duty is unimportant and it’s a good way for NCO’s to screw with them. If there were two NCO’s on Duty together and one had to be at the desk at all times, they would be more likely to divide their shift evenly and fairly instead of trying to screw each other over.
  3. Despite my agreement with Amos on doubling up on Duty, his “firewatch on every floor” idea would be extremely counterproductive. Having been to bases in Okinawa, Lejeune, Pendleton, and Hawaii, I’ve never seen a barracks where it would take the Duty NCO longer than 5 minutes to perform a cursory tour (only checking for major problems) or longer than  10 minutes to perform an in-depth tour. That makes a “firewatch on every floor” effectively a useless post; and nothing makes Duty feel more like a punishment than sticking people on a useless post.
  4. Duty must NEVER be assigned as a punishment for anything. If you want Marines to view Duty as a “privilege” then making it a punishment is absolutely the worst thing that could possibly happen. I would go so far as to say that assigning Duty to any Marine, for any reason other than “It happened to be your turn in the rotation” should carry a Mandatory Battalion-Level NJP. Furthermore, attempting to circumvent this by – for example – assigning a Marine to stand at the door to the barracks and open the door for every marine who walks in or out, should be similarly punished.

Do I honestly believe that implementing these ideas will instantaneously change Marines’ ideas about duty? No, of course not. What I will say is that removing several of the negative aspects that make Duty feel like a punishment is bound to give Duty a less negative connotation over time. It may not fix anything over night, but I’ll almost guarantee it will be an improvement in the long-term.

I’d like to move on, very briefly, to Amos’ idea of installing security cameras in the barracks. In theory, this could be a decent idea as it could allow Marines who are being hazed in the barracks to have video evidence to support their claims. However, on the other hand, I could very easily see a command using security footage to NJP a Marine that they don’t particularly like, for such minor infractions as wearing “shower shoes” from their room to the laundry room, or not wearing a belt while walking around the barracks. All things considered, unless there are strict rules regarding how security footage can be used, I see security cameras as a zero sum game. Whatever is gained in security has the potential to be paid for in morale.

 

This concludes Part 2 of my series. Please comment below and let me know what you think. Check back next Monday (Nov 04, 2013) for Part 3!

Safety and Peace

NINJA_PUNCH

The Life of a Marine Corps Recruiter Part 1

So, currently a Marine Corps Recruiter and hating life very badly. Can anyone please explain to me why I would want, or even try, to enlist a kid at 2 in the morning pushing carts in a parking lot? No clue. But apparently he’s right what we need according to my SNCOIC. Also I by no means understand the leadership values out here. So you’re telling me if somebody has a 300 PFT that gives them that much more of an intelligence factor to lead. Nope it doesn’t but it sure helps them get meritorious SSgt doesn’t it. Feel bad for those young Marines who inherit him as a SNCO. I guess that’s what happens when your Sgt Maj is a cat 4 (asvab failure with waiver to enlist the one who says war dog and hard charge 25 times in a PME) it’s whatever though he has a wall of Marine Corps shit on display which gives him super powers after he tells you about his second tour on the drill field. Then comes the fun part not frauding a kid in or telling them to lie. You tell the friends of them to tell them to lie so really I guess it should be more of the creative part. Then on to Meps to tell the docs everything or shut up. 50/50 chance here lets hope we win if not on to the next number. Key to recruiting deny, deny, deny, and lots churching things to a point it actually sounds good to you. 8412s lead the way and stay at home for 16 years of the Marine Corps career good for them way to claim the title with no deployments. Well have a good one saw some kids smoking weed on the corner better go talk to them. 

Submitted by:  2807aListofLies

Generals Say “Time To Fix the Marine Corps” And I Couldn’t Agree More… Sort Of… (Part 1)

amos_ihatetheusmc_article_header
I really need to be a meme…

In a pair of recent article in the Marine Corps Times (“Commandant calls for new crackdown”“Generals say it’s time to fix the Marine Corps”) General Amos noted that “we are now seeing signs that are our institutional fabric is fraying.” and he, several other Generals, and Sgt Maj Barrett lay out their plans to “fix the Marine Corps” (esp. problems with “sexual assault, hazing, drunken driving, fraternization and failure to maintain personal appearance standards”).

I’d like to take a moment to reiterate some of the lowlights of the proposed solutions to this “moral stagnation” before moving on:

  • All Marines on duty will be required to wear service uniforms, either “Bravos” or “Charlies,” depending on which uniform is in season.
  • Two NCOs will be on duty per barracks, and a firewatch will be conducted on each floor of each building. Brig. Gen. Paul Kennedy goes on to ask: “Are people really coming back and complaining about [the extra duty]? Their duty is a privilege, really. It’s to watch over the flock.”
  • Marines will no longer be promoted to corporal or sergeant in groups. “Each promotion to these ranks will be personal and meaningful,” [Amos says].
  • Other “near-term” changes [include] the installation of security cameras in every barracks.
  • When the issue of “Service Charlie Fridays” came up Brig. Gen. Kennedy simply responds “But that has all been done before.” and Sgt Maj Barrett relates that, when he was a PFC/LCpl (in 1981-83) “every single Friday… you were in Chucks… You’d walk and step in front of the first sergeant, and he would pull open your personal financial record to make sure everything was right… You’d then sidestep in front of the commanding officer next and do a couple facing movements. And then you’d salute and get your pay and walk away.”

While I agree with the top brass that sexual assault, hazing and the like are huge problems that need to be addressed, I suspect that they are really only symptoms of a larger problem. To wit – the Marine Corps is run by Generals and Sgts Maj who are so far removed from every day life in the Marine Corps that, for all intents and purposes, they don’t even qualify as Marines anymore. Now let me be clear: I’m not saying that the rank of “General” or “Sgt Maj” is itself the problem. The problem is that these positions are occupied by people who are so far removed – both by their billets, and by their time in the military – that they barely comprehend the problem, and can’t even begin to imagine the solution. That’s why we have the Commandant over in Quantico saying “We have this huge problem with sexual assault and hazing, so we’re going to give Marines more Duty, make sure they’re in those fancy-dancy service uniforms as often as possible, and we’re going to have more ceremonies, and make those ceremonies even longer! I’m confident that somehow this will manage to solve our problems.” What this really amounts to is little more than a tacit admission by the Commandant that the only tool that the top brass has is a hammer so they’re going to try to make every problem look like a nail.

 

Now, far be it from me to disparage the top brass’ plans without offering some better ideas for how to fix what’s really wrong with the Marine Corps. So without further ado, allow me to offer my improvements on the General’s “brilliant” plans:

Firstly, I’d like to address the uniform policy for Duty. Maj. Gen. Nicholson states that “The best guy you’ll ever have on duty is the one who is out stopping problems before they start… He’s taking a Marine who has really had too much to drink and putting his arm around him and getting him up to his room and putting him to bed before that guy has a chance to do something.” I absolutely, 100%, agree with this statement. I’ll even go so far as to say that I’d support having two Duty NCOs and two A-Duty’s so there will always be two people on post: one at the desk, and one wandering around looking for potential trouble. That being said, I have two concerns that I think need to be addressed here:

  1. How likely is a Marine on Duty going to be to help a drunken Marine get up the stairs to his room, when he has to be concerned about getting his Corfam’s scuffed, or maybe even getting vomit on his shirt?
  2. How likely is a Marine on Duty going to be to try to put down a drunken brawl, when he’s reasonably certain that he will be berated by his SNCOs for getting his shoes scuffed, or getting the ribbons ripped off his shirt and soiled, or getting a stain on his pants?

In both cases (and I could go on with additional examples) the Marine on Duty might act to help the other Marines, but in any event he will definitely be hesitant, not wanting to have to spend extra money replacing expensive uniform items. In many instances, the Marine on Duty might simply choose to walk away and let them fight it out; and then return five minutes later to find one of the brawling Marines gone, and the other lying unconscious on the pavement. For this reason, I propose that Duty should only ever be carried out in the Utility uniform (cammis).

This concludes Part 1 of my series. Please comment below and let me know what you think. Check back next Monday (Oct 28, 2013) for Part 2!

Safety and Peace

NINJA_PUNCH

Things that are wrong with the Marine Corps. The Master List.

things that are wrong with marine corps master list

Behold! The master list of everything that is wrong with the Marine Corps. We will take in all feedback and continue to build on this list over time. Keep in mind, that some of the things on this list are there for comedic purposes.”

Also, most of these actually pertain to DoD in general, and not just the MC.

Without further delay, here is the current list:

  1. Over-indulgence in esprit de corps: We spend so much effort congratulating ourselves for being Marines, but too little on asking how to ensure that distinction matters. We have this attitude of “I’m a Marine, I made it” as opposed to “How good can I possibly be? Am I what my country needs today and tomorrow?” Spoiler alert: country doesn’t need 18 year olds with rifles to storm beaches. We BADLY need a lightweight, amphibious raid force from the sea, usually operating at company level and below.
  2. Field Days: The idea of a married SNCO that doesn’t have to live with this bullshit coming into my room and telling me it’s unsat.
  3. MCIs: Seriously, has anyone ever taken one of these classes and not cheated? I once went to my Company Clerk and asked him how to get a proctor for an MCI Test because I wanted to do it legitimately, and he just looked at me with this dumbfounded stare for a few seconds before telling me that he had no idea how to do it and I should just cheat like everyone else. Unless your future college accepts MCIs for credit, they’re practically useless.
  4. Mandatory Fun Days: Nothing says “building camaraderie” quite like being forced to spend even MORE time with the same people that you work with and live with on a daily basis; and then getting chewed out by some NCO or SNCO because your belt (in your civilian clothes no less) extends past the buckle to the right, instead of to the left.
  5. Pro/Con Marks: I swear, no one in the entire marine corps knows how to properly rate their marines’ Proficiency and Conduct Marks. So, even though there are a pair of very simple charts that tell NCOs and SNCOs what ratings to assign, the whole process devolves into a popularity contest.
  6. Fitreps: Pretty much the only way to get promoted past the rank of Sgt is to make sure you have a Fitness Report that sparkles like a diamond. Unfortunately, that usually means being adept in finding ways to take the credit for your unit’s successes while shifting the blame for failures onto your subordinates. Then these same SNCO’s have the guile to talk about their “superior leadership abilities”.
  7. Illiteracy of SNCOs.
  8. Illiteracy of fucking everyone.
  9. Decreasing standards just to make people pass schools. 
  10. Professional reading list. 
  11. The prevalent sexism. “Hurr durr, she sucked dick to get promoted.” C’mon. It’s the 21st century. Grow up.
  12. The prevalent preferential sexism/racism 2.0. Don’t tell me you haven’t seen it. The platonic guy friend SNCOs with new female boots. The fucking homeboy back in the hood homeboys in the supply building. This shit has no place in the Corps.
  13. The eagerness to counsel and punish when someone fucks up and then turning a blind eye when someone does something good. It is meant to be an equal system. Want to counsel someone for a fuckup? That’s fine. Just don’t exclusively use the system for punishment. It’s meant to be used for both or not at all.
  14.  Mass punishments: Because if a marine goes off base, gets drunk and assaults a cab driver, it’s somehow my fault for not knowing that he was going to do that and preventing him.
  15. 15 minutes prior to 15 minutes prior to 15 minutes prior… : Everyone in the marine corps likes to say “You’re a grown man” yet they don’t even trust a marine with something as simple as being to work on time.
  16. Armorers and the armory in general. Fuck everyone and everything about it. I’ve never seen an armorer that wasn’t on BCP. Don’t even get butthurt about this one. Just shut the fuck up, sit down, and admit it.
  17. Chucks on Friday and pretty much everyone this last Commandant did.
  18. TA getting cut. The congress got a raise and our TA got cut. Just another public embarrassment. Applies to all branches.
  19. Receiving NJP because of an incident that happened off base somehow doesn’t qualify as double jeopardy.
  20. Imminent danger zone pay getting pro-rated by day. Just another way to nickel-and-dime the very people that volunteer for these bullshit deployments anyway. At least fucking pay us.
  21. SNCOs that were nowhere near the shooting at Camp Bastion on Sep 15, 2012 nominating themselves for CARs and NAMs. You guys know who you are.
  22. Junior enlisted marriages. We essentially bribe 19 year old kids (who are modestly paid and frequently away) to get married…GTFO the barracks + pay doubles + girlfriend from back home lives with you. It’s hard to say no. The marriages are generally badly matched between people too immature for the responsibility, finances are tight, babies are had, so the now Corporal with a toddler has to choose between EAS + uncertainty, or re-up and guaranteed paycheck. This logic is the start of many career guys’ decision to stick around…instead of retaining our best, we retain those who gave in to temptation and accepted the marriage bribe. As a result, our cream doesn’t rise to the top…the guys who need the job security rise to the top. Once there, they make shit decisions and make poisonous command climates, which perpetuates the cycle.
  23. Manpower Assignments. Our system makes the assumption that central manpower managers make better decisions for the individual and the service than individuals can do. As a result, getting the right guy in the right billet is a matter of chance.

To be continued… If you have any ideas to add to or modify this list, please leave them in the comment section below.

Source

Balancing the Anger, Frustration, and supposedly, the Budget

By now you have at least heard in passing that our fearless (and often guileless) leaders have failed to pass into law a federal budget, unless the rock you are currently hiding under is substantially thicker than a Marine Recruit’s skull.  This should come as no surprise to anyone however, as we have not had a federal budget passed since 2009, and the continuing “funding resolutions” have been hotly contested by the thermally charged gaseous vessels up in Washington, D.C.  “What care we?” you may ask.  Well, due to an outstanding conversation I had today with a concerned Officer, I figured I would toss this out there for the general benefit of those who care to waste a minute or two of their lives that they will never get back.

1.  A MARADMIN was released with instructions to all Marine Corps units directing the actions to be taken due to nothing but lint left in the pockets of the DoD.  This effectively halted all future training and TAD that is not deemed “mission essential.”  Now we all know that the term “Mission Essential” can be broadly applied, as in the case with painted sand bag art, but if there is a cool-guy school you have been promised to attend, it’s not going to happen.  In addition, if you thought you would get a reprieve from your Commander who was about to attend a conference, sorry to say but your favorite LT will be moping around the office even more uselessly than before.

2.  If you are in the long line of former Marines awaiting on VA claims you have even longer to wait now as the VA is down to just essential staff.  One would think that essential staff were those tasked with ensuring the benefits you have earned are processed, however the entire waiting process is actually a calculated step by the VA.  Knowing that Marines have an affinity for standing in line, the long waiting process is established to make us feel more like we have never left the service, and just as you mutually bitched about the problems with the Corps while in a days long line at CIF, now you may do the same with the VA process.  Sharing is caring after all.

3. The powers that be have managed to avoid a lapse in military pay by passing a funding resolution that continues to process “all regular pay and allowances,” which is great… except for the irregular pay and allowances.  Now don’t you fret, if they owe you jump pay, hazardous duty pay, or a re-enlistment bonus, you will eventually see it once a budget has been approved.  Just like all other pay issues, DFAS will work diligently and aggressively to correct any issues with a service member’s compensation through utilization of their highly skilled staff that is currently furloughed.  Expect your back pay right along with that VA disability check (another line is forming about… now.).

4. If you truly enjoy sushi from the base commissary, no longer will you have raw fish to go with your chapped ass- base services will be indefinitely suspended throughout the “crisis.”  There are plenty of other options however, like your lovely neighborhood Sodexo-run chow hall.  These facilities are located across every Marine installation and offer daily servings of all the essential vitamins and nutrients, to include heart burn, indigestion, nausea, diarrhea, queasiness, loss of balance, hemorrhoids, and a general feeling of paranoia or anxiety (pepto bismol not included).  And if you happen to live off base, you can share your dining experience with the whole family with a to-go tray.  Even the family dog will enjoy the meal, and may or may not clean his tounge on his posterior afterwards as a palate cleanser.

So, in short, please remain clam throughout the shutdown and trust in your elected officials (much like you would trust in your elected prom queen) to solve the world’s problems.  If for any reason you run into personal struggles during this time, the D-Stress hotline is still operating- I know because I checked- these guys keep the mission going and can be reached at (877) 476-7734 if your buddies in line at the VA have gone catatonic and unresponsive to your pleas.  Oh, and don’t worry so much about seeing a doctor- we still have health care for all now, even if we can’t figure out how to pay the doctors.  Keep calm and Slave on friends, I have to get back to a line somewhere.

Blue Angels Attack White House, Flee Military Custody [satire]

WASHINGTON, DC – Tragedy struck our nation’s capital today as the White House was bombed by fighter-attack aircraft assigned to the U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, also known as the Blue Angels. The Department of Defense, The Navy, and the White House Press Secretary described it as a horrific accident, the worst case of friendly fire in United States history.

“It was supposed to be a routine flyover,” said Blue Angels Public Affairs Officer Lt. Katie Kelly. “We just wanted to show our Commander-in-Chief there were no hard feelings after he grounded us, and all.” When asked why the aircraft were carrying live ordnance, Kelly said, “We’re looking into that. Obviously, somebody really shit the bed on this one. Heads are gonna roll.”

But audio recordings of cockpit radio transmissions told an entirely different story. The chilling words speak for themselves.

“Sequester that, motherfucker! … Hoo-yah! Let’s see your birth certificate now! … Hey, asshole: Does Kenya have any bomb shelters? … White power!”

Fortunately for America and the Free World, President Barack Obama was vacationing at Camp David with the First Lady and their children during the incident. The West Wing suffered extensive damage and several housekeeping employees were killed, but no one of any importance was harmed. Since the deceased were all illegal aliens, their true identities could not be determined at press time.

Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck took to the airwaves and lauded the Blue Angels for their valiant effort to annihilate a petty tyrant and the greatest threat to freedom facing America today. Limbaugh blasted the federal government for frittering away money on health care for disabled war veterans instead of squandering it on pointless aerobatic displays that waste logistical resources just to impress a bunch of yokels. Beck went even further. Broadcasting underway aboard his boomer submarine, he threatened to rain down hellfire and devastation upon Washington, San Francisco, Boston, New York, and other Communist strongholds if jack-booted government thugs so much as laid a finger on any member of the Flight Demonstration Squadron.

Speaking at a hastily-assembled press conference, Arizona Republican Senator Capt. John McCain, USN (ret.), scoffed at conspiracy theories the Blue Angels were retaliating for President Obama’s canceling their airshow schedule due to sequestration. “This was clearly a mistake,” said Sen. McCain. “U.S. Navy pilots are the best-trained, most loyal sailors in the world. I know, I was one myself.” Then he winked at Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert and mouthed the words, “Bravo Zulu.”

Disregarding repeated orders from Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel to land their aircraft at Naval Air Station Oceana and surrender themselves to military authorities, Blue Angels Commanding Officer Cmdr. Thomas Frosch led his flight into international waters and trapped aboard the flight deck of Rupert Murdoch’s private aircraft carrier, the SS Fuck You, Pay Me. Fox News carried live coverage of the event. “Fat Albert,” the team’s C-130T Hercules transport aircraft operated by a Marine aircrew in a pathetic attempt to make the Corps seem relevant, ditched alongside the Fuck You, Pay Me. Rescue crews recovered the floundering Marines, along with Flight Surgeon Lt. Cmdr. Mark DeBuse, MC, and the team’s maintenance, supply, and administrative support personnel, while Academi snipers kept the sharks at bay. There were no losses, except for an MSNBC News helicopter that was shot down by a CWIS when it wandered into Murdoch’s private airspace. Murdoch reportedly chuckled when told and said, “Collateral damage. Happens in every war.”

After signing autographs and posing for pictures with fans, the Blue Angels were the guests of honor at a celebratory feast held in the captain’s mess, where they were feted by such notable luminaries as Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, Greta Van Susteren, and some douche bag calling himself Greg Gutfeld. Ann Coulter volunteered to let all the naval aviators violate every orifice in her body, but there were no takers.
“We haven’t been at sea that long,” said Frosch.