No doubt many of you have seen this clip, which I believe is recognized as a fitting homage for many thousands of discharged Marines. I’ve been out for about 5 years now, but when this character sings, “. . . and last of all we got one more left it’s the most important one, it’s the EAS . . .” I think of the relief I felt while driving out the front gate with my DD-214. It was almost euphoric. The lyrics are so simple, the song a concise encapsulation of his time in the Corps. There is bullshit everywhere and acronyms for everything. And hiding beneath the veneer of this highly lofted institution are the symptoms of confusion and mediocrity: on-duty Marines sleeping, favoritism, politics, avoiding responsibility, etc. Keep in mind, this young man is not singing about your local mechanic in coveralls finishing a beer when he should be repairing your car- he’s talking about the United States Marine Corps. As always, I am excluding those combat-tested Marines and the ones who have paid the ultimate price. The rest of you (including me) deserve no special recognition for just doing our jobs.
Motivators love to say, “Well there’s always a share of both love and hate for the Corps.” Just what part of, “Fuck USMC you can suck my cock” in that song conveys love for the Marine Corps? I personally reserve those sentiments for organizations (and the people in them) for which I harbor no affection. You can even tell your girlfriend, “Fuck you” in an argument, as well as “You can suck my cock” in a different setting when both of you are feeling decadent. But you cannot tell your girlfriend, “Fuck you, you can suck my cock.” She just won’t do it. It’s your way of saying, “I think we’re done” in the most undiplomatic way. But I don’t hate the Marine Corps. I won’t waste my time and energy hating it. My relationship with the USMC is a lot like the estrangement you have for that ex-lover who just isn’t right in the head. You pity and sometimes humor her, you know she (or he, for you ladies) is insane, and you can’t help her. And no matter how many times you explain that her negative traits far outweigh her good ones, she’s still going to believe that she made your life richer and more worthwhile. That’s the fallacy many motivators believe, that somewhere in one of the chambers of our hearts we still love and miss the Corps. So you just have to laugh, shake your head, and stay away. Hate is not healthy. I personally prefer expressing my awe and amazement toward these delusions of grandeur, followed by amusement.
When you compare the happiness level of your graduation from boot camp to your EAS, you will find that the former is grounded upon a belief system that had no or little substance in the first place. And little by little, you learn that the EGAs woven into your uniforms and pinned to your collars take on a different meaning than when you first coveted them. In the beginning, they were symbolic of being the ultimate badass and the consummate professional. But over time, the environment and the resources at your disposal began to reflect the inadequacy of the training protocol and superficial aesthetic of the Corps. Shall I quote Tyler Durden? “Sticking feathers up your butt does not make you a chicken.” Likewise strutting, yelling and marching in formation does not make you formidable, tougher, or organized. It only makes you more obedient and susceptible to further indoctrination. Ultimately, your graduation from basic training pales in comparison to your EAS celebration. This is the case 9 times out of 10.
Perhaps a Marine and/or poolee (those naive, sorry bastards) will argue that if the USMC mentality failed to take hold, we just “didn’t do it right.” Something went awry. We weren’t Marine material. But being Marine material isn’t prestigious at all. The necessary components for being one are really reduced to two main factors: 1. a healthy body (which isn’t at all reflective of your character), and 2. the willingness to obey (like a child). Anything beyond that is derived from the individual. So this whole misconception that Marines somehow acquire admirable abilities and traits that are otherwise inherent is one of the biggest crocks perpetuating the Marine Corps myth.
If you’re one of those people who knows that had it not been for the Corps, you would’ve been incarcerated, committing felonies and/or just been an overall ineffectual human being, you’re among that alarmingly growing percentage who truly needs such draconian levels of discipline just to function. The Corps has attempted unsuccessfully to correlate the word “discipline” with the words “practical, useful, and efficient.” In other words, a Marine’s ability to do the right thing, to just be DECENT, requires drug tests, structured exercise sessions, and accountability formations to keep him that way. The definition for excellence in the Marine Corps is synonymous with maintaining the status quo in the private sector. Talk about lowering the bar. Those civilians and [few] Marines that have reached or transcended the standards of excellence do so individually, simply because USMC policy is designed as a blueprint for ordinariness. So without equivocation, there are far more excellent people in the civilian world than there ever were in the Corps. Hands down. No question about it. Aside from them being able to run for long periods of time, Marines work very hard in order to become very average.