I hear a lot about stupidity in the Marine Corps but not enough about insanity. When someone does something stupid, I think it’s easy for higher ups to just say that guy was being stupid without looking at why he did it.
For the most part you’ll hear something like, “PFC so-and-so went and ran across the I-5. He was hit by 5 cars and died a horrible death. I know, he was an idiot. It was probably alcohol related. We don’t know yet,” and then they’ll give a 5 hour long safety brief about leadership and not running across the I-5 or a class on how to look both ways before crossing the I-5 (Joke. Haha.).
What you won’t hear is that PFC so-and-so was going insane for a number of reasons and couldn’t take it. His chain of command was keeping him beyond normal working hours for no reason which caused his already strained relationship with his wife to become even more strained. So one day, he figured, “Well, we’re not doing anything. I’m sure no one would care if I left to see my wife.” Of course, some douchebag Staff Sergeant wasn’t having none of that shit and charged him UA (Unauthorized absence).
They took away his rank and he lost his car as a result of his new pay grade. They still continued to keep him beyond working hours because his boss dumped work on him just before he was about to leave. The PFC had nothing to do all morning and afternoon but his boss just had to dump work on him at the last minute just because he can. And it’s always “so important” like updating publications or turnover binders, which no one uses. Now his wife wants a divorce because they never see each other.
Now you have both sides of the story but as always, in reality, we are always left with one side of the story, the one that makes the Marine Corps look not as bad.
The Marine Corps is not a place where normal people come in and leave normal. For the most part, normal people will come in and will probably think about suicide at least once in their Marine Corps career. I’m sure that most first termers (first contract of 4 years) have thought about suicide or mass murder or both. And for the most part, most people just look at their End of Active Service (EAS) clock and hope it moves faster. These people have something to look forward to.
When one is perceived as crazy, it’s just so easy for the military doctors to give that person crazy pills. I mean, that can’t be right! Instead of solving the problem, they just mask it up with pills. These pills mess with your head and you don’t function normally anymore. There is a one step program for curing that person’s depression. It’s called End of Active Service.
So whenever you hear that someone did something stupid, ask yourself why.
Being insane since 1775.