The day I learned how to skate.
Wow! Now I am the lowest rank, in the shittiest branch, in the shittiest station of that branch. I was at the bottom of the totem pole with my recently NJP colleagues. We were restricted to the barracks, work, and the chow hall. That was it. No gym, no PX, nothing. We were like the new prisoners that were transported by a big bus into a big prison. All eyes were on us. All fingers were pointed at us as if we committed an atrocity of a crime. We were the restricted Marines of our battalion 3rd Marine Readiness Battalion 3rd FSSG Camp Kinser, Okinawa Japan, United States Marine Corps.
Restriction sucked. Period. I would of much rather been thrown in the brig. Now let me tell you what restriction consisted of. I had to sign in up at battalion every two hours. The battalion was at least two miles away from the barracks and I had to walk up there rain or shine and sign the paper that the SNCOIC had or else I would get burned. On the weekends you had to sign in at 0700, 0900, 1100, 1300, 1500, 1800, 2000, and finally 2200. On the weekdays I would sign in at 0700 if it was not a PT day, after work at 1800, 2000, and 2200. I had to walk and was not allowed to get rides, ride taxis, or even ride a bike. If the 1stSgt was a dick that day he would make us march to battalion, even walk up in fire teams. At 1800 everyday we had to do extra duties for the battalion which included sweeping, swabbing, cleaning the head and buffing the deck with a buffer for two hours. We had to do this for 60 days straight. Not to mention the PT, fielday and all the other extra bullshit that comes with a shitty unit. Work was the fun part as we would just sit all day looking for something to do and it was easy to look busy by picking up a broom and sweeping. It was going back to the barracks that sucked as the Nazis of the 4th deck were always looking for ways to administer their power.
We would walk to battalion every day. I remember it raining heavily to where my jungle boots would squish out bubbly water from the breathing holes in the side. I had to wrap my wallet in a trash bag so that it would not get wet. The ponchos were shit and they would not do a proper job in keeping the moisture out. Not to mention asshole NCO’s and SNCO’s would roll up in their car while they were warm listening to music and talk shit to us that our uniforms were not perfect or we were not marching in step and tell us to pick up the trash on the ground. Restriction was hard but Marines made it much, much harder. I don’t know if you guys know a term named “Stockholm Syndrome” but basically it’s when you are in a shitty situation for so long it becomes normal to you and later you become numb.
Being a boot ass PVT I was not used to the term “skate.” I never really knew how people skated or what they considered skating. To me I thought that skating was just a lazy person that did not want to work. But really skating is much deeper than that. Skating is when you “get” the Marine Corps and say “fuck you!” Skating is when the USMC pays money to make you do a job and you purposefully do not do it for spite of wasting the USMC money. Skating is when an NCO’s tells you to do something, you say “Oorah SGT.” pretend that you are going to do it, look back to see if the SGT is still there and then not do it. Eventually the SGT will scream and threaten but at the end of the day the SGT worked harder than the PVT and the mission did not get accomplished. I my friends learned quickly the beautiful art of skating.
I soon realized that the USMC was just an endless array of punishment, regardless of who you were or how well you did your job or how motivated you were. You were going to get punished excessively regardless. Somewhere in the Marine Corps Bible, under one of the Marine Corps commandments it says “thou shalt be punished for days on end for no reason.” I quickly got a whiff of the stink and quickly got into the “don’t give a shit” attitude. It was a lot less stressful to worry more about myself rather than my unit, Corps, or country.
The first time I wore my beautiful skates was when I got tired of marching with a platoon. I started going my separate way and would take a shortcut through the jungle by the PX and make it quicker to battalion. On the way I could hit the “roach coach” and buy me some refreshments and snacks for the 16 miles I had to walk to battalion. My NJP colleagues quickly saw what I was doing and decided to join my bandwagon. I was not rebellious, I just believed in working smarter and not harder and the USMC was all about the opposite. So I was like “fuck you USMC, I am getting mine.” After my couple of skates I went to the PX (I was only allowed to go there for haircuts). But guess what?! I would eat Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, Baskin 31 flavors and go to the PX video game section to play the up and coming games. As I walked out of the PX I saw a beautiful beach cruiser for sale. I saw a special that included a helmet with the bicycle. I bought the bike and started biking it to fucking restriction. WHOOOOOO! Was it a whole lot easier trekking those daily miles with my beautiful beach cruiser. It really had me thinking about how the invention of the wheel served society very well. Of course there was SGT. Nazi and SGT. Burn that would stop their cars and tell me to get off the bike and walk it. I would do it, but guess what? As soon as they were out of sight I would get back on, ring my bike bell and pedal to battalion.
After the first 30 days of restriction I was handling my punishment a lot better. I would use the excuse of my restriction to get me out of PT and fielday from my unit. When motherfuckers would form it up to play games they would tell me “where the fuck you going motherfucker!!!!” I would just show them my battalion sign in sheet and say “I need to go to restriction Sgt and execute my duties. Battalion is more important than Company!” I would pull that card all the time and I would get away with it. Later on me and my NJP colleagues kind of developed a clique just like the ones you see in prison movies. Later we all agreed on pitching in on taxis and riding them to restriction. This was sweet. We later started bringing snacks to battalion while we did our duties and we even got to play a little boombox while we cleaned the head. Especially if the SNCO was cool. I would use the “brown nose” method to butter up the SNCO and he would be nice and give us our duties and turn the other way. Sometimes we would just bullshit with the SNCO and get to watch whatever movies he was watching. Sometimes the SNCO was a motard that recently got off the drill field and we had to be on our toes, but I STILL managed to butter up the motard DI by simply asking him about certain drill movements and life on the drill field. I was so good at this that I even got the Colonel talking about his golden days in OCS and when he commanded a platoon in Desert Storm.
I was so good at skating that I could of seriously tried out for the Olympic figure skating team (just kidding). But I really saw the game and how it was played. I was a professional skater by now. After restriction was finally over I carried my civilian gear in my issued backpack and proceeded to change over immediately after I singed my last check in. We all called a taxi and proceeded to go to “whisper alley” to get some much needed pussy. We still managed to go to a small bar and responsibly drink without getting too wasted and went back to the barracks. I was in bliss but what came next was the lottery of bliss’. As soon as I came back to my unit my Msgt called me to his office and said that he gave me a Temporary Assigned Duty (TAD) with Camp Guard. These motherfuckers did nothing but guard armories, gates, and pick up trash (if there was any). Could you say “skate?” I quickly reached into my sea bag and brought out my beautiful skates and polished them ready for another adventure.
Stay tuned for Okinawa Prison (Part 7) and I will tell you about all the shit I got away with 😉