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The Ballad of QA (part II, the Sergeant Strikes Back)

After finding out that QA had been wrong, and watching him eat his liver as all the equipment moved back into the building where it was required to be (I will admit I might have enjoyed it a bit more than was entirely healthy) the time came for him to unleash what he considered to be the sound and the fury.

The weapons in his arsenal of vicious justice included such hits as ‘paint new lines in the parking lot’ and ‘clean graffiti off of buildings’.

Unfortunately for him, both the lines and the buildings were new. The lines were still shiny and yellow, and the brick hadn’t even begun to fade, leaving QA with no leadership strategies available to him. One day the muse was upon him: everybody has that container filled with sand that is used for cigarette butts. In most cases it is an ammo can, or some similarly sized container.

In this case, with hundreds of people, the container was an oil drum. With this much sand to spare, people (myself included) would simply push their cigarette butts under the sand, and go about their day. QA simply knew that there must be hundreds if not thousands of butts under the sand in dire need of removal, since we all know that un-sorted cigarette butts represent the collapse of western civilization.

QA announced Friday after lunch that the entire shop would not leave until I had sorted every single cigarette butt from that oil drum. Plainly counting on the mob justice that the Moron Corpse is built on to ‘yank me back into line’, I asked him in front of two SSgts and the Gunny if that meant that everyone could leave, if and only if I finished the drum. He pointed out that I also had other tasks to accomplish, but agreed.

He plainly did not consider the implications of this statement, and returned from a 90 minute cigarette break at his place in base housing to find the shop empty, apart from me, the two SSgts and Gunny. He angrily demanded an explanation, and Gunny happily filled him in that I had knocked the drum over, raked the cigarette butts out, and blew the sand back into the oil drum with a leaf blower.

This would be more than QA could bear. He had lost his fight to keep the building shiny, had lost his appointment as HAZMAT NCO (which had been used for disappearing from work more than anything else) nearly been disciplined for blatantly violating regulations and orders, and had just been publicly humiliated by someone smarter than him. (In QA’s case, this was not hard. I consider it akin to being the finest opera singer in El Paso.)

QA had watched his superiors systematically abuse their ranks in his previous MOS, and was upset for three reasons:

First, there were many more sergeants in the air wing, and he wasn’t as scary as he thought he would be.

Second, all of the procedures he thought he knew no longer applied. There were many things that were done differently in naval aviation than in motor transport (tool control, FOD, etc.) and he just couldn’t get it.

Third, and perhaps most importantly, he couldn’t see everything from the door of the van that he had decided was his office. This meant he actually had to get off his ass to chew people out.

He had attempted to wreck shop when he arrived, until he found out that 3 of the other sergeants were senior to him, and didn’t want anything to do with his reckless asshattery.

Soon enough (by waiting around, because that’s what makes good leaders), I picked up sergeant, and he about lost it. There was no way that someone who wouldn’t suck E5 cock first thing every morning was worthy to be one.

His attempts to ‘get me back’ ranged from the futile:

1) I was charged as UA for having left a safety stand down. His evidence was that he had seen me at the PX. If he had been attending the safety stand down as I was, how did he not know that it was chow time?

2) I was charged with conduct unbecoming for tossing bread under the vans to feed our resident rabbit, who the ladies had named ‘Corporal Fluffernutter’.

3) I was dragged before the Equal Opportunity Officer because my bald head. I was tired of paying $10 twice a week to maintain a haircut, because for some strange reason my hair started growing in two different colors. (I am told this is not uncommon, and I grew out of it. It was a pain in the ass to maintain to jarhead standards, so I shaved it)
Couple this with a maween regulation mustache and it’s almost impossible not to look like a nazi. As I mentioned QA was black, and this therefore constituted an attack against his race.

To the laughable:

1) He made a remark that was actually something resembling clever. When referring to a corporal, he said ‘He had better be like EF Hutton, when he speaks, you listen’.

Someone asked who EF Hutton was. His reply was that EF Hutton was an American cavalry officer in WWI, and his advice was so good that it was always listened to.

After a moment, having determined that this guy was actually serious, all the marines who remembered the EF Hutton TV commercials collectively roared with laughter as they realized how full of shit this guy was.

I was accused the next morning of having orchestrated that ahead of time, and having made him believe something that wasn’t true.

Again I was selected to clean the butts from the cigarette can, and specifically told this time that I could not tip the sand out of it, because it represented a FOD hazard, and we were no longer allowed to use leaf blowers anyway.

This time, I grabbed an engine hoist, and lifted the can on top of a 200kw generator, which was due a load bank test. I dropped the load on to the generator and, as the engine worked to handle the strain, the butts worked their way to the top of the can, where they were scooped into a bag and disposed of.

Apparently this constituted failure to obey a lawful order. As far as he could remember, I had been told to go through it by hand, individually picking out each butt. Nobody but him could remember this order, but that did not stop him.

Before the day was out, the charge sheet was on its way.

Submitted by: Billiam201

Rants of a Boot Marine Part II: Life in the Fleet

I remember just last Friday, I was hanging out with a female Corporal (time for everyone to scream FRATERNIZATION!!!!!!!) before a working party to stash away Christmas trees after a Santa comes to the hangar event for the sons/daughters of Marines in our unit in Miramar.

ADD NOTE: While like every Marine who hates working parties like the ones where you’re forced to police call and the whatnot, these are the rare few where you could skate, and might have fun. The Christmas Santa working party had us dress up as Olaf, Santa, and his elves, load up a “sleigh” into a C-130, and taxi to a hangar full of kids eager to meet Santa and that Frozen character of a Snowman.

She was one of the cool NCOs, not caring about me saying Corporal every other sentence, talking about her own personal BS experience, and what I could possibly do to deal with it for the next 3 years.

I should’ve asked her if she actually liked being a Marine or not. Considering that she was a female and of a higher ranking than me, she’d probably would’ve said yes, not having to deal with the same BS that I was dealing with.

But aside from witnessing the double standard on a daily basis, I’ve seen firsthand how this isn’t the Few and the Proud the Marines were advertising like they keep saying.

More Marines are applying for VEERP packages in my unit than there are Marines that are looking into retirement.

The subtle difference is that while not all Marines have the same reason. A majority of the VEERP Marines know what they were doing post Marine Corps and couldn’t wait to do so. The retiring ones were worrying about what they should do, contemplating of the careers they could’ve done 15-20 years before.

We’ve been set up by an illusion that if we did our time, kissed asses, and stay in longer, we’d have a nice pension, much respect, and have it easy.

It’s a complete. Freaking. Lie.

None of the MCI’s, MarineNet courses, or things that I’ve been voluntold to have relevance to me. I don’t even think that MarineNet course on CyberAwareness even helped one bit, more Marines violate what they teach than those who actually apply what they learned.

I’ve seen NCO’s/SNCO’s/Officers that couldn’t tell the difference between “You’re” and “Your”, fat nasties telling us how to get higher PFT/CFT scores, fall the hell out of simple moto runs like the Marine Corps Birthday run. AND IT’S NOT EVEN THAT HARD!!!!!!

Further more, while I don’t really live in the world of daily games of many individuals in the Marines regardless of the whole POG/Grunt thing, it seems to be seeping into my life now with this Dike of a Sergeant who thinks she’s the grunt of the IPAC, reigning in on my Corporal (not the female one, but a different one who I also consider pretty chill), and my fellow Marines of the same rank, somehow thinking we’ve lost the way of the Marine Corps.

You may ask, “What way?”

I don’t know? Where we have to stand at parade rest when talking to a superior? Where we have to call people by their rank every other sentence? Knowing how to call cadence/drill?

She has yet to realize that being in an Airwing unit rank sometimes doesn’t matter when you have to trust another Marine not by their rank, but by their  experience and individuality in an effort to survive. Not by how they can’t to keep their thumbs along the trouser seams, how their voice can’t match the cadence they call, or if they simply don’t want to do MCI’s/MarineNet courses altogether like me, it’s not the ending of the freaking world.

Other than this, it quite infuriates me how I sometimes have to type up awards for Marines that do their jobs. I think one of my friends even typed up a NAM for a Sergeant that was simply a part of the Base Color Guard for one day.

I honestly don’t have a problem typing up awards for Marines who actually go above and beyond the “Call of Duty” like rescuing a seriously injured biker off the highway and driving him to the hospital.

But every stroke of the key seems to make me want to hurl the keyboard at the monitor when I have to type up an award that goes along the lines of:

“Sgt. Prickhead performed at his best level through aggressive leadership (douchebaggery) by counting all the refueling cells within 24 hours”

or

“Sgt NJP stood there respectfully with the Colors with the best representation, raising it at precisely  0730…..”

You probably think I’m joking, but these are real citations that I have seen in the S-1.

This BS really makes me want to get FAPed out to do something else. I can’t stand it anymore. Send me to the pool to help the Water Survival Instructors for a year and I won’t have a problem with it. Or make me a coach at the range. I’m an okay shooter, but know how to get others to shoot better than me! Let me play Haji at Pendleton, where I don’t have to worry about some douche of a SNCO tell me to shave, and I can mess around with grunts who think that they’re Gods.

Guys, are you having the same thoughts on a daily basis? Do you wish you are already out when you’re a year into your 4 year contract? Or wishing you were reassigned somewhere else?

Have a good Christmas and more to come!

Runaway Marines

There comes a time in every person’s life when the thought of running away from the things that are causing them the greatest amount of stress crosses their mind with a great intensity.  Many Marines wistfully speak of the day when they will say, “Fuck this silly shit,” put down their pack, and walk away; never to be Devil Dogged, Hey Marined, or Hard-Chargered for the peaceful remainder of their remaining years.  Unfortunately, this is not as easy as it sounds.  Recruiters, Drill Instructors, and other…ahem…motivated individuals will often explain to Marines, mainly through high-volume, intense oral communication methods, that one cannot simply walk out on their Corps.  They will throw words like “deserter,” and “traitor” around with an aggressive ferocity normally reserved for the men they are trained to kill (or American football fanatics…yeesh).  In their eyes, walking away from the Marine Corps is as bad as sending the enemy a text that says, “like omfg u guyz, unit is totes 3 klicks west lmmfao XD #allahackbar” while urinating on a Medal of Honor recipient’s corpse.  Walking away is kind of a big deal.  There are fines to think about, possible jail time, harassment from local law enforcement and military communities, and a whole mess of other garbage no one wants to deal with, so most of us take it on the chin like a true bitch and put up with the dangerous nonsense until our contracts run out.  There are some, however, who do not put up with bullshit and do exactly what so many of us have thought so much about:  They walk away.

My first experience with someone ditching the Corps was, of course, at boot camp.  They had warned us since we stepped into that white van* that smelled like dick sweat that if we tried to run, we would not make it.  The San Diego police were always on patrol around MCRD looking for escaped recruits.  Allegedly.  Supposedly.  Okay, looking back, believing that the SDPD would have the time/manpower/funds to specifically patrol for wayward Marine recruits seems pretty stupid.  Whatever, recruits are dumb, they believe everything.  This alleged, semper-vigilant populace was sometimes the only thing standing between many recruits and sweet, sweet freedom.  It didn’t always work.

When my platoon made it up to Edson Range, we soon found out why team week away from the officers was a bad thing.  Our Vampires (guys that worked the chow hall before breakfast hours) were supposed to be day sleepers, but they were IT’d instead.  All day long.  Before the second day was through, the had changed from Vampires to Zombies.  By the fourth day, one of them had had enough.

The recruit waited until the DI** was asleep, changed into his green sweatpants and sweatshirt with “1055” stenciled in shoe polish, packed his plastic camouflage gym bag, and made his way towards the highway.  An SUV quickly pulled over and gave him a lift…right back to the main gates of Pendleton where he was snatched up by PMO.  We never saw him again.  They told us he was being kicked out and would be fined and probably jailed and yada yada bullshit lie yada.  Some guys do get away though.  I have never met one, but they do exist, apparently.  Regardless of their threats and lies, we heard from an MRP recruit that he was in SEPS platoon and was going home with an Entry Level Separation.  He escaped but was captured, tagged, and freed.

My second run-in with a runner was on Okinawa.  I was working on an engine rebuild when out of nowhere two PMO walk by escorting the whitest and skinniest dude I have ever seen.  He was wearing PT gear, handcuffs, and a shit-eating grin, and by that I mean his teeth were literally doo-doo brown.  The PT gear was a necessity as he had sold all of his uniform items and was required to report in wearing something devil-doggish at the very least.  I mean, come on, you can’t just show up to meet your new CO and not look fabulous amirite?  He did have some pretty nice shower shoes, though, I have to admit.  They were the kind sailors buy, you know, the ones with super thick soles that (hopefully) keep your toesies out of the pissy-semenfest they call a shower on ship?  Yeah, those.  After an awkward introduction at the barracks, I learned that he had gone UA right after his MOS school.  For six months.

By the time he had graduated Motor T Operator school, he was already bored with the whole “Marine thing.”  He had seen the shoddy leadership, deficient training methods, and all around garbage for what they were and decided that going home was a better expenditure of his time and efforts.  A few weeks after he was supposed to be on Oki, a local law enforcement representative appeared at his door to warrant him up, but his father agreed to forget his whereabouts until the officer gave up and left.  He did not come back.  For the next six months, he continued on with his life as if the Corps never happened.  Then, one day, he got bored.  He had been arrested several times since he went UA but his warrant never showed up on the local blotters.  The last time he got himself locked up, he admitted to being a Runaway Marine.  They did not at first believe him until he phoned his very pissed off recruiter who confirmed he was in fact missing.  He said the Chasers (guys who transport detained people) were actually pretty cool and didn’t really care as long as he didn’t try to run and kept his mouth shut (I am still not sure if they were appalled more by his grammar or rotting teeth).

Several weeks later he found himself stuck on an island in Japan in a company full of people that didn’t like him from day one.  My command hated him because he went UA, was a filthy dirtbag, drank underage, looked terrible in uniform, and gave absolutely zero fucks about Marine shit.  The thing they hated about him most was his ability to run a <16:30 3-mile without breaking a sweat or being out of breath.  THAT shit pissed them off like nothing else could.  Nothing says “Fuck You” to a group of senior Marines like shitting all over their PFT scores like it’s nothing.

The thing that I thought was so weird about him was that eventually he became the Company Pet.  Although I’m sure he was barred from reenlistment, after a while they seemed to treat him with a lot of respect for a guy that they so often verbally berated for being a quitter.

-AAVPOG

*I didn’t take the bus, but that story is for another time.

**We had only one DI for three weeks straight, but that story is also for another time.

Note from S: Sorry about taking so long to publish your article AAVPOG

Hazing doesn’t build character, it breaks and warps you into something nasty

Go to your local pound. See the dogs that have been beaten? See how they’re a combination of scared shitless and willing to tear your throat out if you look at them wrong? Do you think they’re better dogs because they were treated like that? Just like there are better ways to train dogs, there are better ways to train men. The best way is to realize that men are men, and should be treated as such. They signed away years of their lives just like you did, and now they’re willing and eager to become the best of the best. But all too often, that’s not what happens.

It’s one thing to imagine the Jarhead hazing scene, where they pretend to brand him, and then that’s that. It’s something else entirely to live it, to come to the realization that you signed away four years of your life for this, and that there’s nothing you can do about it. It doesn’t stop, it goes on day after day after day after fucking day, and then it keeps going. This isn’t a movie, or a video game, and you don’t have the option to say it’s over unless you want to have a felony following you around for the rest of your life. It usually doesn’t have a purpose other than to entertain or make the guy who’s doing it feel better about themselves or their situation in life. It’s almost always done to you by those you though you’d respect, and who turn out to be utter shit bags. It doesn’t build character, it breaks and warps it into something nasty. It doesn’t build men any more than it builds combat effectiveness, and least of all maturity.

RSP is the most depressing place to be at.

Rsp is the most depressing place to be at. I was there for about 16 days. Being the fact that i was dropped on training day 30 , it made it worse. I walked into Rsp and realized that over 90% of the drops were from receiving weeks. This was so crazy to think that people didnt make it out of receiving week, i felt so lucky to have made it as far as i did. In Rsp you meet two kinds of people those who quit and those who didnt. Many get there and decide that they dont wanna do it anymore but then theres those like me who would do anything to get back to training with my platoon.

Every day you wake up and not know when you are going home. This feeling is literally the worst feeling. Every day unless it was sunday we would go to working parties. Which generally let me see The island from a different point of view. I was the one who gave clothing to the receiving recruits of that week. It was so different than what you see when you are the one in receiving. But besides working , we would sit on our footlockers and wait the day out. I would count the hours left until lights out and then the next day do it all over again. But if you were like me you would be tired each day from 2 hours of fire watch every day until i left, all because of falling asleep during firewatch, even though everyone did it. Fire watch in rsp was basically a joke because of the fact that we get loced in at night with alarms so there was no need for us.

One of the worst feelings was being made fun of by other platoons and or Drill Instructors. Being from 2nd phase were generally you get yelled at when you fuck up and not for random reasons like in 1st phase it made me feel so bad about myself. Generally all the Drill Instructors label Rsp all as quitters. But the only good thing about it all was the friends i made there. We were all going through the same thing so it was easier to get along. These are friends that will last a lifetime.

Submitted by: Vfore

The Ballad of QA (not quality assurance)

Sgt QA checked in to my shop in 1999 (maybe late 1998, I confess the memory is fuzzy), shortly after we pulled off moving enormous amounts of equipment, and reassembling an entire logistics squadron due to the closure of another base. He checked in at his shop, they took one look at him, decided he was too dumb to hit things with wrenches, and promptly FAPped him out to us.

(This was hardly uncommon. There was no MOS for my shop. It was composed entirely of FAPs.)

He was upset by this, and decided to take it out on as many junior marines as possible, as painfully as possible. We had just moved into beautiful new facilities, which he decided were too nice to actually use, so he ordered all the gear be moved outside to be worked on.

The Gunny quickly figured out that this guy was too dumb for his own good, so he gave him the duties of the HAZMAT NCO.

A 55 gallon drum couldn’t be stored outside at the time, unless it was contained In a permanent spill area. (Rainwater could wash material off the drums, and contaminate groundwater.) Since we didn’t have one, the drums had to go inside. These were unsightly, and took up space in his precious building, so he decided we no longer needed 55-gallon oil drums in the shop. We could use 1-quart jugs for oil changes, like every jiffy lube on the planet.

In case anyone has ever wondered how much oil it takes to do a complete oil and filter change on a 1450 cubic inch diesel, the amount is just over nine gallons.

That’s right, he decided that, rather than pulling a generator up next to an oil drum, pumping 9 gallons of oil into it, wiping it down, and going on our merry way, it was better to fabricate outdoor drip pans (the airframes department wasn’t happy about this), go to base hazmat every time we needed to change oil, get 3 cases of oil, pour them into the various places they needed to be, cap them and take them to be disposed of.

When, after a month of this, I pointed out that productivity was down, our RFI was down (inhibiting our ability to support training operations, much less a war) and costs were up (since we were buying 30-50 cases of quart bottles of oil a month, instead of a pair of 55-gallon drums, I was informed that I hated this idea because QA was black.

That’s right. I didn’t hate his idiotic idea because it was stupid, wasteful, and motivated entirely by a desire to ‘put his name on something’.

I hated his idiotic idea because of the race of the idiot in question.

He was a sergeant, and I was a corporal, which automatically made all his ideas good ones. Therefore, I couldn’t possibly have a legitimate military reason for disagreeing with him. It had to be personal, as he would be more than happy to tell anyone who would ask.

Abandoning million-dollar facilities for fear of getting dirt in them was perfectly logical, as far as he was concerned. What if a general comes to inspect? How much easier will our lives be without having to clean that building? We just move all the equipment in to it, so it looks like we use it, and we come out of it smelling like a rose!

Except for one thing:

There was exactly one person in that shop who actually had a California NREA certification. (I think the name of this certificate has changed since)

Would any of our gentle readers like guess who that person was?

That’s right.

It was the guy that hated Sgt. QAs ideas because he was black.

It had nothing to do with the fact that the exhaust reclamation system was inside the building, or that our shop wasn’t licensed to dispense large quantities (over 5 quarts per engine) of oil from bottles.

Fortunately for me, Sgt. QA had been appointed hazmat NCO in violation of California law (a fact of which they had already been informed) leaving the squadron to pay those bills.

Fear not, gentle reader:

I would pay dearly for the crime of being right.

Submitted by: Billiam201

How did you hear of iHateTheUSMC?

It was a question I asked on the front page of iHateTheUSMC.com. We recently hit our 4 year anniversary as a website and I thought it would be a cool to see how people found us and what their first impression was. I got some interesting responses!

Ohreally:

“As a poolie, I found this site while googling information about boot camp. When I saw the truth about the Marine Corpse presented here, my cognitive dissonance activated and I told myself that these people were just shitbags and your typical anti-american, anti-government crazy types who probably hated the Corpse, because they thought it was part of some illuminati conspiracy. I proceeded on the Corpse anyway.

How.
Wrong.
Was.
I.”

Me:

“Did anyone tell you that you will be back on the site after bootcamp? Did anyone tell you “I told you so”?

We have had a lot of poolies do the same as you and we always told them “you will be back”. Are you one of them?”

Ohreally:

“I actually never commented and told anybody they were shitbags. I do have a vague recollection of skimming through the “how to get out of bootcamp/mct/soi” article and laughing at the idea of somebody actually telling their Drill Instructors to “YELL LOUDER, I LIKE IT” or something akin to that. I was still in the Full Metal Jacket belief about boot camp you see; I expected some poor kid to try to test their Drill Instructors and get knocked out or something by a R Lee Ermy clone. Then I actually go and it turns out that all the shitbags graduate anyway. Nice….. This website actually had much greater use for me at SOI-W. By about the end of the first week of ITB, I started to ask in the deep recesses of my mind why all the combat instructors still treated us like we were recruits, manual laborers, servants, and janitors. Weren’t we told in Marine Week, and really ALL OF BOOT CAMP, that these fuck fuck games were going to end by the time we “earned” our Eagle, Globe, Anchor? Was this not one of the main, if not *the* main motivation guiding us as we waded through all the bullshit? That somehow, somewhere, there was going to be a light at the end of the tunnel, and we would rate as human beings, let alone as exalted MARINES? When I had these thoughts I began to think that perhaps there was something seriously psychologically wrong with me, hadn’t I had wanted this for so bad, for so long? Did I not actually wait eleven whole months of my life in the DEP for this “hardcore” Infantry Security Forces MOS? Was I not proud of myself for becoming a MARINE? But then I realized something that broke the dam of my cognitive dissosance loose once and for all. The Marine Corps…….my recruiters…my Drill Instructors……my chain of command, hell even the popular culture and the goddamn commercials ALL FUCKING LIED. No, you DON’T become human after Marine Week, instead of being called a stupid ass recruit, now you become a stupid ass private. No you DON’T go to fucking war and be heroic and die fighting for the rights of Afghan women. You go sign up to do firewatch, scrub toilets (NOT HEADS, TOILETS), march up hills with ludicrously impractical equipment, yell loudly, scrub more toilets, mop floors, clean piece of shit rifles that don’t even fucking work and sometimes explode on people, do childish handmovements, greet the SNCOIC who is always late to his own formation who never returns it anyway, keep Nouri Al Maliki in power who your commander in chief later removes from power publicly, and scrub more godamned awful toilets! Then after it’s all over and done, you lie to yourself you “served” your country because it would be far too painful to admit that you basically wasted five years of the best parts of your life away from family, friends, loved ones, lovers, and basic human decency all for nothing. And when the cognitive dissosance broke, what website did I think of, that I scoffed at such a long time ago….. Surely, those nutjobs didn’t have that many members right? Well, teufel deufel, it looks like those unmotivated crazies were right weren’t they? Looking back, I feel so lucky refusing to train, that I feel like I scored a jackpot! I think it’s in these two demographics that this website has the greatest relevance, poolies, and Boot Camp graduates. Herein lies the two groups of people who still have an ability to be educated on how to get the hell out of the Corpse when it’s still relatively easy. It’s very nice to bitch and moan about the idiots in the Fleet and the superiors we all hate, but it isn’t really going to affect things unless we solve the problem before it starts, does it?

Can you imagine how much change for the better we could cause, if the Marine Corpse’s recruits and students just stopped going? The bastards wouldn’t have any choice but to improve things! The Marine Corpse is like an infectious disease, man, you gotta kill it using preventative medicine, before you can find any use from the DNA of the Corpse at hand. This website in all it’s vivid, damn near professorial detail IS that preventative medicine. May it live long an prosper.

tl:dr

Looking back, I feel so lucky refusing to train, that I feel like I scored a jackpot! I think it’s in these two demographics that this website has the greatest relevance, poolies, and Boot Camp graduates. The Marine Corpse is like an infectious disease, man, you gotta kill it using preventative medicine, before you can find any use from the DNA of the Corpse at hand.”

Me:

“I might turn this discussion of ours into an article. You cool with that?”

Ohreally:

“Sure. Put it on Facebook too, twitter, whatever. Tell the world about the Marine Corpse and just how much of another big dumb useless government bureaucracy it is.”


Some other comments:

Bubbafett:

“Through one of the posts in Terminal Lance. It was mostly rants…then when people started posting about problems, questions and answers I got on more.

I was also on leatherneck. Few guys there actually answered the questions-especially the bitch who was a female Marine. I would see her rip on people who ask questions.

This site reminds me of a vital lesson in life, a person or an organization must see their problem for what it is. They must brainstorm on how to solve it, then solve it. If you are too proud to see the issues, you will have bigger problems.”

Wow:

“A former Marine I know of liked Terminal Lance and I read some of the comics. It painted a different picture of the Marine Corps than what I initially thought it would be. Wisesloth’s list of reasons not to join the military included this website as well.

While I can understand that the USMC may be a victim of its ego, in how motarded it can be, I was still floored in how it could be as bad as this site said it was. My image of the Marine Corps went from finest fighting force with it being my first choice of military branch to dysfunctional place with the nicest uniforms and best choice of colors. Part of me still wants to join, with one telling me to join if I want to become a Marine, for that express reason, but I am very skeptical now.

The Navy has now become my first choice in joining, with the Air Force being second. It seems like the Navy is the best service branch, in terms of balance: it’s a military branch in the waters, while the Air Force is a sterile corporation and the Marine Corps being a motarded cult, with the Army soon going the way of the Marine Corps.

MARSOC looks like a good organization, but is it worth joining the USMC to get to MARSOC, especially when MARSOC has its own problems from the bigger USMC organization, and when there’s no guarantee for actually getting selected? In one MARSOC video on Youtube posted by Funker530, some commenter who had Sergeant in his username talk down to me in one my comments regarding the FN SCAR and the Woodland camouflage pattern, with his changing his tone after I clarified.

Who knows, it might just be a perception difference. People don’t experience reality the same way. But when there’s a lot of people speaking against the Marine Corps and telling people not to join, in the form of websites and articles, it makes you think twice before joining.”

MC_Fraud_Waste_&_Abuse:

“Great site S. I wish there could have been something like this in 1994-1995 time frame. Would have saved me a lot of disappointment, heartbreak, and wasted time/work.”

How did you hear about iHateTheUSMC and what was your first impression?

I have been in the Marine Corps since 2011, and I have despised every fucking minute of it.

I have been in the Marine Corps since 2011, and I have despised every fucking minute of it. Like all boots, I went to basic training expecting to join a cool, useful, relevant organization, but quickly discovered how it was all bullshit. Throughout my enlistment, I have spent more time with a broom in my hand than a rifle. I have spent more time cleaning things than shooting things. I have never deployed anywhere, but you bet your sweet ass I’ve participated in all important uniform inspections!(sarcasm). These past 3+ years have been a huge fucking waste of time. Although I have my fair share of friends that haven’t accomplished shit since high school, I also have friends that have graduated college and started their lives, meanwhile I’m sitting here typing this up on a government computer at work because there’s nothing else I give a shit about enough here to do. I work about 14 hours, almost every fucking day, and I’d say about 5 of them are usually spent dicking around on the internet. Why? Because marine corps fucking inefficiency, that’s why. I hate this fucking job. I hate being here, I hate thinking about it, I hate doing it. Every week i sit here counting down the hours until the end of my shift.(Which is usually irrelevant, cause i always end up staying and extra fucking hour or two!) Days off are few and far between, and are usually spent sleeping all fucking day to make up for the lack of sleep I get during the week. Im tired. Tired of this job, tired of this unit, and tired of this fucking organization.  My EAS is the light at the end of the tunnel, and although it is not yet within reach, it is within sight.

I have spent the last two years on Okinawa. I’m sure anyone that has been stationed here after ’95 can appreciate how fucking miserable it is.  Midnight curfews, liberty “buddy” policies, and whatever other bullshit rules some asshole with stars on his collar came up with as a way to cover his own ass whenever someone fucks up. I’ve always found it interesting how the marine corps can take an awesome tropical island, full of beaches, warm weather, and beautiful women, and turn it into a miserable fucking prison. The thought of offing myself comes to mind at least once a day. Im constantly feeling anxious about the stupid bullshit I have to deal with. There’s days I cant sleep, there’s days I forget to eat, and I am generally fucking miserable. Part of me wishes that this post does get intercepted by someone, just so I can loose my security clearance and not have to work here anymore. But knowing this organization, I would just wind up getting fucked out of my GI bill some way or another.

This post is mostly just me trying to vent, but I would like to know if anyone else out there feels this way. Who else has an MOS that they absolutely fucking hate? Who else has a countdown timer app that shows exactly how long till their EAS? Who else checks that timer every time they get the chance? Who has been through this shit before and has advice to offer for getting through it in one piece?

Happy to join this site,

Submitted by: Juan

How Karate Stopped Me from Joining the USMC

I’m not a Marine, I never have been. Hell, I’ve never even served. That being said, for about a year or two in a previous life, I had ambitions of joining the Marine Corps and was really gung-ho about becoming the part of the Few and the Proud. Well…let’s just say things changed when I started doing some research on the organization. “The Few and The Proud” started to become “The Few Misguided Youth and Old Bastards Who Can’t Make it in the Real World and Hence Make the Lives of The Few Misguided Youth Hell for no Reason.” I have to say, when I first came across the iHateTheUSMC website, I did not take the stories seriously. I thought “hey, these are probably a bunch of fuckups who couldn’t suck it up and get the job done”. Well, one story could be that case. 10? Maybe. 100? Uh…. A fuck-ton of stories?!!!… something’s up here…..

Shit really hit me like a brick when I began experiencing the stories I read on this site at the Dojo I practiced at. I felt like a misguided youth who had joined a very cool sounding organization to accomplish great things, but instead realized all he had accomplished was wasting a fuck-ton of time. Below I have listed a list of scenarios. Now, read them and try to guess whether they are my experiences from Karate or experiences listed by Marines on this website. (hint hint…the list is not mutually exclusive)

1 – Junior ranking members having to listen to bullshit about spirit and culture that senior ranking members pull out of their assholes

2 – Hearing terms like “warrior” or “warrior spirit” from clown-like senior members who couldn’t beat a squirrel in a fist fight

3 – Having to take shit from a senior ranking member (who by the way is like 6 inches or a feet shorter than you are) and having to fight the urge to strangle them till they stop fucking twitching

4 – Realizing the outdated fighting methods you practice only belong in the outdated centuries they were created in

5 – Having to do some bullshit salutation for a certain group of high ranking members (who may also be a feet shorter than you and not be able to beat a squirrel in a fist fight) or facing the consequences

6 – Having to take shit from experienced “warrior” who can even throw a fucking jab. Seriously, a simple fucking jab

7 – You and your friends constantly doing impressions of you clown ass superiors and the stupid meaningless shit they say behind their backs

8 – Being chewed out for not understanding a command that would not make sense in a fucking mental ward

9 – Reflecting on the terrible decisions you have made and wishing you had joined a more effective organization

10 – Leaving before you make rank because hell… you would rather cut your balls off with a dull plastic knife than to become one of your clown fucking superiors one day

11 – Seeing idiots who can’t fight for shit being promoted before you because they are really good at sucking dick and kissing ass and also memorizing and reciting bullshit that your seniors think is important

12 – Being extremely qualified, but not being promoted because of a technicality that no one can even fucking define (Seriously…dear high ranking member…what the fuck are you talking about? You can’t even throw a jab)

13 – Idiots becoming favorites of your superiors because they look good in their perfect little (with extra emphasis on little) uniforms

14 – Being micromanaged by the superiors mentioned above, even though everyone knows they don’t know what the fuck they’re doing

15 – Oh my god, I can’t believe I almost forgot about this! Ridiculous fucking haircuts worn by certain gung-ho superiors

16 – One word: Motards

I could go on and on and on and on but I’ll stop here. Anyways, thank you karate and iHateTheUSMC for preventing me from making another god awful life decision. I have made so many before.

Submitted by: Sensei Tater Salad

“It is what you make of it” is complete bullshit.

Over the four years of my enlistment, my average PFT score was 291, my average CFT was 296. I never shot below expert and had a first class swim qual. I had 17 MCIs done by the fourth month of becoming a lance, followed by twelve book reports over the following 3 years for all the good they did me. I had my CAR, a NAM, a cert com and an admittedly bullshit letter of commendation. I spent my enlistment in Oki and the rest in Afghanistan and training. I was a guide in Boot Camp for a while and a squad leader for the rest and in SOI (I could run fast and do a fuck load of pull-ups which made me a good leader). I don’t expect for a second that this list of “accomplishments” will impress anyone, I just want you to realize that your offhanded discounting of the issues raised on this site as the pitiful whimpering of shit bags is exactly what makes the Marine Corps “not the best job in the world cause more often times than not it sucks”.

I call bullshit on your oft used phrase “it is what you make of it”. When your car runs into a swam, you can spin your wheels all you want but you’ll only sink in deeper. Promotions in the Marine Corps aren’t based off of MOS proficiency like the other branches, after you max out your P/CFT and rifle scores you get to twiddle your thumbs up your ass till your TIS/G raises your score to the promotion level. If that doesn’t appeal to you, you can always pull that green weenie out your ass and start blowing that bitch like a big boy because if your SNCOs like you you’re golden.

Depending on your MOS, it may be mathematically impossible to be promoted in your first enlistment if it’s not done meritoriously. Depending on your SNCOs, you may have to prove your devildogginess through stabbing your platoon mates in the back repeatedly and publicly. If you’re willing to turn on your peers like a rabid fucking dog, your time in the lower ranks may quickly be over. That may be why so many “seniors” look down on the pittances of problems in the lower ranks; their time in the lower ranks was quickly ended by their understanding superiors through meritorious promotion after trading their honor for an assumed position of authority.

Now that I’m out, I enjoy nothing more than convincing others not to make the same fucking mistake I did in trusting that recruiter to keep his word. The funniest thing is that once you get out, it actually is what you make of it, and that’s why seemingly ¾ of Marines Re-enlist. You can talk about grabbing my balls all you want, I enjoy working for companies that actually care how good I am at my job and how efficiently I accomplish tasks. I attend school full time and still make more money a month than I ever did in the Marine Corps. I don’t have to listen to alcoholics tell me not to drink, a literal baby killer and wife beater tell me that I’m not living up to ethical standards, or have to hear hard ass bad ass jack ass motherfuckers like you tell me how easy I have it and how much harder you had it x years ago. I don’t have to spend my time swallowing my pride and listening to my honor and principles get questioned by those who have none.

I also don’t have to pretend to be intimidated by a fuckwit who happened to be promoted before me because, for some mysterious reason, I did my job better than him and I got his job after a few weeks. I know it sounds like voodoo, but I didn’t have to prove that I knew how many and what types of ear rings are allowed to be worn by females in uniform to be promoted in less than a few fucking years. I also didn’t have to publically humiliate my co-workers to get in the good graces of my almighty overlords.

As to my lack of ambition in the Marine Corps, I fully intended to make the Marine Corps a career. I wasn’t expecting a rose garden, I wanted to be one of the few the proud, I wanted to fight with and be a part of the best of the best, I swallowed the hype hook line sinker and pole. I expected a combat MOS, I got signed onto a contract that held about 15 jobs, and I was promised that I’d get that one right there in the middle. Just ignore the rest, they don’t count. I got locked into a job for four years that I hadn’t known existed before enlisting. Oh, I could still go MARSOC, I only had to wait two years and the re-enlist for an additional five to six years for the opportunity to attempt the indoc. Yea, I fucked up, and my gullible ass is to blame for it. I accept that, and I am moving on. I won’t keep quiet about life in the Marine Corps now that I’m out though, that’s one more thing that your beloved disorganization got wrong; there’s a real difference between sucking up hard times and moving forward, and being a timid bitch who doesn’t speak up for himself and against the legitimate problems he sees. Keeping quiet and ignoring the problems you see around you is not being a man, it’s being a coward.

– freeatlastfreeatlast

Original comment

The Marine Corps is difficult, but it’s difficult for the wrong reasons. It’s difficult in the wrong ways.

The following is a response to a comment written by a very gung ho individual. I figured it should be turned into an article.

You’re doing the same thing that so many Marine hopefuls do, focusing on boot camp and ignoring the 4+ years that come after it. While the dropout rate from boot camp may be comparable to other services (I don’t know if it is, I don’t feel like looking that up right now), the first enlistment attrition rate for the USMC is much higher than other branches.

As you noted, and I agree, the Marine Corps attracts motivated and determined people, most of whom choose the Marine Corps because they see it as the hard choice, a right of passage to manhood, the elite branch of the world’s elite military, etc. I think from personal experience that there are more optimistic hopefuls that join the Marines out of a sense of patriotic altruism than other branches, many of whom attract recruits through promises of job training and bonuses. Why then do so many of these determined young men literally leave in disgust after their first enlistment when compared to the other branches? Why is this branch the only one with a genuine hate site dedicated to it?

While it may sound strange, the Marine Corps is difficult, but it’s difficult for the wrong reasons. It’s difficult in the wrong ways.

While it could be difficult to establish and hold to personalized physical training regimens within platoons or squads, that the participants might see results in higher P/CFT scores, you more often than not are treated to a lovely helping of squad pushups, buddy carries, and a six mile shuffle while screaming about a little yellow birdy every morning. Because that’s how the Marine Corps does PT, in sync and to the lowest common denominator.

While it could be difficult working with firm but fair NCO’s who know their jobs like the backs of their hands, you more often than not are directly supervised by semi-literate rubes who don’t know the difference between metric and standard but can tell you right now how high the female dress shoe heel is authorized to be, or how many steps a burial detail is meant to take from the hearse to the grave. Because those are questions that are asked on a board, and that’s how the Marine Corps finds promotion worthy enlisted.

It could be difficult to maintain gear to be ready at all times, but you’ll typically be tasked instead to ensure the SL-3 is complete, the record jacket is updated, the serial numbers are cataloged, the history , chips, dings, dents, scratches, the goddamn scuff marks, are all carefully annotated. It doesn’t matter that the fire extinguishers in the SL-3 are empty, the spare batteries are dripping acid, the Jerry cans have half an inch of mud and oil in them, and the gear is held together with 550 cord and prayers. Those problems are not what the inspection looks for, so they don’t exist. All that truly matters is that the unit looks good on paper.

Then there are things that shouldn’t be difficult, but the Marine Corps just love to make them so.

Walking from point A to point B? You’re marching in step to cadence while those who outrank you walk behind you laughing at how unfortunate/retarded you are.

Need to clean you room? You’re going to be at it every week at least once a week for at least five hours. Did you clean it well enough? Well, that depends on the mood of the inspector, and whether or not he wants to spend the weekend at home.

Spending your weekend not working? You get to listen to someone tell you not to rape, murder, pillage, or plunder the surrounding populace for a while after standing in formation for a few hours. Want to go on a vacation? You’re going to fill out and sign a form that says that you promise not to rape, murder, pillage, or plunder the populace after hearing the same speech. Depending on where you plan to go, you may also promise not to, among other things, swim in jellyfish infested waters, buy/sell/use/traffic drugs, train or sell gear to drug dealers (I’m not kidding), participate in human trafficking, or assault local law enforcement or their families. Why would you have to do this? So there’s a piece of paper to cover the ass of whoever is in charge of you, because, as an officer once analogized so poetically to me, “When a dog shits on your carpet, do you blame the dog, or his master, the one who trained him?”.

Many Marines have it much worse than these petty grievances, some feel frustrated that after over a decade of friends, limbs, and minds being spent in shit pit locales for semi-coherent and often changing reasons, said shit pits refuse to stop being so damned shitty. I was lucky, I got out with all my fingers and toes and had only one friend die many miles away from me when I was in Afghan. I never really said goodbye to him before separating, and I never saw him again. I didn’t have to listen to him scream and feel worthless like the guys that were with him. What then does our unit do to honor this Marine? Why, throw him a funeral on Leatherneck of course. Who got to stand out in the sun in the middle of the summer at various parade poses while listening to bible verses and speeches made by people who didn’t know him? His friends. Who sat in shaded stands while this funeral went down? A bunch of pretentious officers that couldn’t tell you the first thing about the guy, but oh so honored his memory with their very presence.

It’s these and many other endless, repetitive, grinding, pointlessly stupid slights to our pride and intelligence that drove so many of us out. Where we expected to find a rite of passage, we found pointlessly endless belittlement. We feel betrayed and lied to, we feel genuine hatred towards that disorganization that asked for so much, took what we gave, chewed us up and spat us out without a second glance. We feel taken advantage of, stepped on, thanklessly abused for no other purpose other than to feed the egos of those who didn’t deserve our respect.

The question then becomes why do some stay in? Some seemed to like it, these people were typically pretty low achievers before coming into the Marines, and find something there that’s a whole lot better than than where they came from. Speaking again from personal experience, many others stay in because they don’t want to try their luck on the outside, in the “real world”. I heard many arguments like “the economy sucks right now”, “all of life sucks, not just the Marine Corps”, “As soon as you pick up ‘insert next rank here’ you don’t have to do shit, why leave now?”. In truth, it think many senior enlisted and commissioned simply forget how things really are, and see their careers through rose tinted glasses. In the end, I think it’s something like this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v…

Things won’t change until these issues come to light and are actually addressed. That’s what being a Marine should mean, finding your flaws and addressing them.

– freeatlastfreeatlast

 

Original comment: http://ihatetheusmc.com/first-regretted-quitting-now-glad-more-than-ever/#comment-1622140016

Rants of a Boot Marine

I joined the Marine Corps in January of this year, thinking that it would give me some sort of direction. Ever since I had graduated high school in 2011, I was bored with college, didn’t feel like wasting money going to parties and orgies that my friends were all doing, and wanted something better that just being stuck with the two choices in life that people were making: college or military.

But I felt that I was stuck in a rut and decided with much hesitation to join the Marines due to the crazy part of my mind not wanting to join the pussified Army or Navy. It was a decision I regretted when I stepped on those yellow footprints. Here’s what I discovered in boot camp.

1. The Few and the Proud no longer applies. In my platoon we had two screw ups that could have gotten anyone on the battlefield. These guys should have been either weeded out in MEPS or at least dropped for failure to adapt to the Marine Corps, but somehow the Drill Instructors were crazy enough to let them stay. What does this mean, ANYONE can join, and ANYONE can pass, provide that they can tolerate three months of legalized hazing.

2. Following up on the 1st discovery, boot camp does NOT turn you into a responsible, grown young man. I’ve seen guys turn into selfish individuals willing to steal, screw over, and abuse their authority. While not everyone in my platoon was like that, at least HALF believe it or not, HALF were like them. And parents are blindly repeating the phrase, “joining the military will make your son into a man”. Bullshit.

3. Drill, drill, drill. They can say all the crap that they want about how it creates discipline and team camaraderie. Bullshit, I know people that didn’t take the effort to grow. And how on earth does “right shoulder” arms create discipline? These days, drill instructors focus WAY too much on drill in an effort to get some kind of medal/citation come graduation. Really? You become a hero just because you won final drill and deserve a medal for it? Holy shit, they should mention how much they IT’d all of the recruits just because they couldn’t do an eyes right!

4. Lies and Hypocrisy…….wtf happened to Integrity? Did everyone decide to throw Integrity out of the window in an effort to cover for themselves and look good in the process? Here are a couple of great examples coming from my own senior drill instructor:

The Saturday after Black Friday, there was a kid from a different platoon that hopped the fence next to the airport (I went to Boot Camp at San Diego btw) and got cuffed as a result. Our senior talked about how he was going to be thrown in jail for going AWOL. I actually ran into the kid the next day at church who actually said that he was just talked out of ever doing it again from his senior. 

Our senior lied to us AGAIN about how during the hikes he carried three 30 pound weights in addition to the essential equipment during our hikes at Pendleton. I found out that he only carried pillows that made his pack look big when I was doing Gear Guard (they made me do this frequently since I wasn’t a big screwup).

In the classes, they teach us about how we had to treat any potential enemy with respect should we capture them. But many of the DI’s were bragging about how they poked eyeballs of corpses or how they sliced ears off to collect as trophies from the battlefield. Now this came from a couple instructors who were supposed to teach us on how to handle POW’s if we ever captured any.

Despite all of these crazy things that I discovered that would have given me a reason to want to quit, somehow I decided to stay throughout the Crucible, and graduated with Mike Company in April.

Wanting to talk about what I saw, I ended up appearing on Adam Vs The Man during my boot leave, seeking for some sort of help I suppose you can say before leaving for MCT.

At MCT I discovered the same old problem of do as I say, not as I do. Plenty of Combat Instructors while being somewhat decent, were threatening us with NJP’s if they discovered that we weren’t carrying our full packs but one even said that he just carried nothing but pillows (WTF?!) during our hikes. Not to mention they confiscated many of the tobacco dippers dip while they were openly dipping in front of us students.

I ended up somehow staying, decided to see what other problems I could talk to the outside world about what’s wrong with being inside the Marine Corps, which resulted in me being stuck on Guard Duty after MCT, which is nothing more than forcing 5 groups of two Marines walking around SOI for four hours straight doing nothing but radio checks every 15 minutes. Did I mention many of us went to hiding spots where we did nothing but sleep and shoot the shit while stalking ITB students doing Land Navigation? That’s what happens when you force them to do something that stupid. The only bright side to it was that Guard Duty also meant operating the chow bell, raising Colors, and loading condition 3 and guarding change of command/retirement ceremonies instead of participating in them.

We also had our first taste of mass punishment when on retarded kid somehow fell asleep RIGHT IN THE FUCKING OPEN while guarding audio equipment one night on the parade deck, which resulting in our off base liberty being changed to base liberty. How pissed off can you get especially when you made plans to visit your cousin, or had a girlfriend/wife flying in outside of Camp Pendleton? Holy shit, just beat the crap out of the screwup and let that be a warning to anyone who dares to fall asleep on front post in the future! But screw the base liberty as it was the first time I ever acted belligerent and decided to leave anyways and returned without anyone noticing.

Now at my MOS school, I am here typing this up, wondering when all this bullcrap of easy NJP’s, weekly haircuts, and daily shaves will ever end. I’ve met plenty of individuals who also have thought of this crap, losing their previous motivation, wanting a way to leave in a clean manner (as in getting a decent discharge without dishonorable/oth on it).

I ask of you, how can you get out once you hit the fleet? Do you just apply for conscientious objector or what can you do to discharge yourself?

I know yeah, I am a new Marine and many will say, “well suck it up since you’ll eventually become a Lance Corporal” (contract PFC with bonus language pay here, which means I earn as much as a Lance), “you’re just a boot”, bla bla, but I am totally aware of what’s going on and why so many are hating life in the Marines right now.

It’s definitely a nice title to have if you want respect, discounts, or someone always covering for you when they find out that you’re a Marine, but to live currently in the Corps can definitely make you weaker physically, mentally, and emotionally, and can turn you from some innocent young man into a degenerate, mindless, backstabbing killer.

 

 

Submitted by: “Brass Neck”

The Sand Castle Blues, Part 6- Of Rats and Shitbags

My previous articles have given you a taste of the knob life, demographics at SC’s oldest frat, and most relevantly to the purpose of this site, the NROTC experience at a military college. What follows is a journey into my personal experience, how I went from a motivated recruit into the class of 2015 on equal footing with my peers, to being a rat, a shitbag in the eyes of everyone else. Hardly anyone wakes up one day and says “I’m going to dime out my people and not pull my weight, and be a lousy excuse for a cadet/soldier/marine. I don’t claim to have had the worst experience at the Citadel. The claimants to that would be the first women who came, the first blacks, the classes from the 50s-90s. But what I experienced was enough to cause me to reevaluate everything I thought I believed and my entire trajectory in life, and taught me who I really was.

Hell week was a torrent of stress, yelling and emotional turmoil. But amidst all that, I did not forget the high ideals, which the school claimed to have. Unlike my classmates from SC and other southern states, I had no idea what the system was really about.  My cadre squad leader, we’ll call Mr. M, gave me the first taste. For the first couple days we were both scared of him and perplexed. He was an army contracted junior, and the only Hispanic on cadre. I had never met someone who could cram so many F bombs into a sentence, and have not met someone since. The sheer density of profanity he could lace into simple explanations of how to make beds and shine shoes was astonishing and in other contexts would have been funny, and sometimes I suppressed a laugh. He and the ASL yelled a lot and played their parts well. Mr. M’s warning to us was that he could be our greatest protector or our worst enemy. But he started saying things that struck me as off.

He would go off on tangents about how the administration was ruining the school and not letting him train us.  He said they had let the place go soft, especially by letting women go to the school.

My company only had a few females, all of them seniors, one of them cadre.  When they weren’t around, Mr. M instructed us not to salute female officers (whether he meant only cadets or commissioned women too he didn’t clarify and no one asked) or even acknowledge them.

Shortly after picking up our utility uniforms, shoes, brass, and covers, we were in formation outside battalion, in a parking lot. Mr. M gave us a set of very specific instructions. He wanted us to go to the cadet store at some point, buy Cutex, and hide it in our rooms. If anyone was to ask, we were to say we didn’t have any.  He would teach us what to do with it.

Now at this point some of you might wonder why we would need nail polish remover. It has to do with belt buckles. The belt has a thin film of protective coating over it, preventing you from sanding and shining the brass with a rag and Blue Magic.  To be able to shine your belt to perfection like a good knob, delacquering the brass’s coating off is necessary. There are two common methods. The first is bathing your brass in a cup of brasso until the coating loosens and you can peel it off. The process takes at least three hours. The other method is to dip it in nail polish remover, which delaquers the brass in less than a minute.

What we didn’t know as knobs was that in a previous semester, a cadet (rumor had it it was our cadre 1SGT) had caused a fire in his room with the highly flammable cutex, no doubt on some shenanigan bullshit. His negligence/idiocy had gotten nail polish remover banned from the company, if not the battalion.  I also didn’t even conceive that I could try talking to Mr. M privately about my reservations towards his orders and his mentalities. I figured that was entirely out of bounds, he was a cadre, I was a knob, we were not human beings on either end, at least that’s how I perceived things. He was in charge, and I figured bringing things up to him personally would get me in trouble. His authority seemed absolute.

What I did know was that the Citadel had an honor code that could get you expelled for lying, cheating, and stealing, and here was our squad leader seemingly asking us to smuggle contraband and lie about it.  I conferred with other classmates about it in our rooms at night, some of them agreed that this was a problem, but nobody wanted to do anything about it.

One morning I was cleaning the room with my roommate, still stressing about it and the TAC came in. He was making rounds, just checking up on people.  I broke down and I told him what squad leader had been asking us to do. I told him this wasn’t what I signed up for and that I wanted to leave. The TAC told me I had done the right thing and that the Citadel needed more people like me, needed me to stick it out. My idealism bought into his words, and I waited to see what happened.

The consequences came in spurts.  An hour or two later Mr. M randomly formed us up, looking like a deer in headlights, and told us to salute the females and disregard his earlier order. After lunch he formed us up again and informed us that someone had told on him, and that he was being removed as squad leader, and could no longer talk to knobs. He was upset. He gave a defeated speech about he was our greatest protector and now, he couldn’t protect us. He asked us to raise our hands if we thought he was a good leader. My squadmates raised their hands, I didn’t. After that everyone knew it was me, I made no effort to hide it, retardedly holding onto my uber strict interpretation of “I will not lie”. Had I raised my hand and never told anyone what I had done (my roommate was a witness but he wouldn’t have accused me of lying, and wasn’t in my squad), things might have turned out just a little bit better.

My squad, the 3rd of 4, was disbanded, and we were dispersed into the other three for the rest of semester, probably the rest of the year.  I had not intended to get Mr. M fired from being cadre, but the TAC was zealous, overzealous in the eyes of many in my company.  Word spread quickly that I had told on my squad leader, the circumstances of it became muddy as it went around, especially after hell week when the rest of the Corps reported in for the semester.  I was quickly named a rat and got extra hate and scrutiny. Although when it came to uniform and knowledge I was not below average compared to my classmates, I was treated as though I was shittier than everyone else in those categories. The perception stuck. At the bookstore or between classes some of my company classmates would approach me and tell me I needed to fix myself and be like the rest of them, whatever the hell that meant.

Owing to my snitch reputation, upperclassmen rarely made me go to smoking sessions in their rooms. Instead my fuck ups would get my squadmates smoked for me. My classmate resented this, even more so when I made it clear that I didn’t approve of anything being done to us. At first I would try to talk to them about how every day at least 15 violations of the fourth class regulations were occurring, that we needed to stand up against it.  I soon learned that my views were an anomaly and made me an object of contempt.

My impulsive reaction the first few weeks to being a cadet was shock and an intense desire to go back home. At the time, the TAC and CO of the marine unit chalked it up to homesickness and soothed me to keep at it. I agreed, and Like Martin Luther before Worms,  I figured the behavior and mindsets I was witnessing was isolated and not representative of the whole. I thought we as a student body were on a learning curb and could still experience the Corps as it portrays itself, ethics and all.

The TAC wanted me to keep whistle blowing, as everyday I saw violations and knew people were being messed with. I totally could have. Attempts to hide what was going on ranged from cunning to stupid. For an example of the latter, the geometry of the barracks is such that there are four large pillar staircases on each corner of the quad, a stair for each company. They are sufficiently wide that if the TACs are not at your company’s corner, which was most of the time, it wasn’t hard to pack in a bunch of knobs behind the stairs and making them push or fuck with them. As long as nobody came close enough around the corner, the hazing was invisible!

I tried at first to keep TAC in the loop, had his cell phone number hidden under a false name in my phone. But the thing about going undercover is that the criminals can’t know you are a cop. I had blown my cover the first week of school, and I was being intimidated by individual upperclassmen and classmates who didn’t want me ratting anymore. Two asshole sophomores from cadre cornered me one time when I was taking trash out and got in my face, saying shit like “You need to decide if you are gonna have a real knob year” and “What would you do if I punched you in the face”.  A classmate who was approaching would passive-aggressively bump into me every time his squad passed by ours, and he tried to get me to transfer to another company. Gossip was that he and other motivated knobs in the company were plotting to fix me if I didn’t stop telling and “not putting out”. I was firmly in the crosshairs, and anyone getting in trouble immediately got me accused of being the cause.  So for my own safety, I stopped telling.

Every day of knob year sucks ass, but it’s all in the reward at the end for most.  The way you are supposed to cope is by bonding with your classmates, but you find as a snitch and a dissenter to status quo that you are ostracized from the Corps, and you lose motivation. As you lose motivation, you get outcast even more, it’s a self feeding process. I did not stay up till 3 or 4 am shining my shoes and brass and memorizing the lunch menu, because I practiced time management and stayed away from the battalion whenever possible. My uniform was arguably as good/shit as everyone else, but because I didn’t deprive myself of sleep, I was called a shitbag. No matter how much effort I put in, it wasn’t enough to anyone.  Classmates resented me because I didn’t get hazed, I didn’t get hazed because nobody trusted me enough to try it again.

The upper-class exploited this at every opportunity, and fucked with me mentally. At times I would be lectured about how I would never experience the brotherly bond they all shared, other times they would mock me by throwing their hands up and flinching. They would yell “OOOH stay at least 5 feet away from this pussy, guys, he’ll report us to the TAC for hazing aaaah”. At “sweat parties”, where cadre force the knobs to all cram into the corner of a room body to body, or at douche details, or punishment pt, they would force me to stand apart from everyone while my classmates suffered. Sometimes when I messed up on something I would be asked to name 5 classmates (to be smoked), of course I never said anyone’s name. An upper from our company on battalion staff would take my seat at lunch twice a week, I once didn’t get to eat because the tables were all full and the one free table had a mess carver tell me to fuck off. Everytime I sat at a mess with this staff officer or the XO, I had to fight every impulse in my body to not explode, or run away screaming. 5 of classmates were once made to report to staff guy’s room because I wasn’t swallowing my food in 3 chews (I get acid reflux from not chewing my food enough).

I came to hate every waking second of my life at the Citadel. I found that almost universally, the conduct of the fourth class system was one thing on paper and the opposite in practice. I couldn’t stand or wrap my head around why everyone bragged and touted their toughness by following a system whose rules they utterly disregarded and refused to follow.  Any suggestion to follow even the existing rules was seen as further pussification of the school and its “traditions”. And as I’ve covered before, when many of these guys are out on leave they get rousingly drunk and try to take advantage wasted College of Charleston chicks. If I had wanted to engage in these types of behavior, I would have gone to a regular college and joined a fucking fraternity.

Almost no one had my back or shared my views. I had nearly nothing in common with my classmates in general. At dinner, the one meal where we didn’t have mess hall rules, I had nothing to talk about and didn’t understand what the others were talking and joking about. At the time, and in my memory, their conversations were a series of macho little boy rumblings and hazing anecdotes. They lived in a different world from me, while in mine all I obsessed on was the injustice of this place and painful self-awareness that I didn’t belong. I would never be one of them.  I wanted to leave, most nights I just wished I could disappear and just be invisible.

A shitbag is supposedly someone who doesn’t do what he’s supposed to do, does the least amount of work possible. My focus on school first, insistence on getting at least 5 hours of sleep, and heretical views got me called a shitbag. But I argue that the mainstream people in the Corps are bigger shitbags than could have ever been.  The bare minimum function of an institution like the Corps of Cadets is to follow its rules, and most cadets from freshmen to senior scoff at them. For them, teaching and practicing good leadership that inspires and builds people, motivates them to gladly put in for the group, is too much and too hard to ask. So instead, they break the rules, they bully and treat each other like shit and call it leadership. They judge their competence on how much they can torture themselves and others and by how much they can stand. Their refusal to live up to their supposed reputation for good leadership makes them the biggest shitbags of all.

P.S. In the two years since I left, I have a few regrets. No motivators, its not that I would have sucked it up, or that I wish I hadn’t left, to the contrary. I wish as a rat I would have gone farther. I wish I had gotten all those bastards so many tours that they were still walking the quad 3 years after graduation.  I wish I had a wire and could have caught some of the conversations and threats I heard. I wish I had taken swings at the following pricks, who I am naming by first name to a) preserve my anonymity as much as possible b) as disrespect, because I had to call most of them Mr. (last name):

1) John, the battalion staff guy. Fuck you for not letting me eat and smoking my classmates. I should have came to your room and kicked your ass.

2) Bryan, you’re the only person I truly, truly hate as a human being. You are a racist, alcoholic, fat, disgusting slob of a loser. That a person like you could last at a place like the Citadel is proof that the school isn’t nearly all kits cracked up to be

3) Zach- I remember during senior showers you made us all pop back into formation before they dunked your ass in the water. Bitch.

4) Paul- I wanted to snap so many times when you were mess carver. You’re lucky I didn’t.

5) Patrick- you are like an abused puppy bent to the will of its awful owners. You weren’t even in my squad and presumed to judge me.  I wasn’t scared of you then, I’m not scared of you now. You two-faced asshole, maybe we should have gone at it, but you were an infirmary ranger, remember? Getting your ass kicked during christmas lights, letting upperclassmen jack up your health. You sir, are pathetic.

6) Cody- Same thing, you weren’t even on my squad but you’d yell at me like you were cadre. You look like a premature 40-year old redneck, I’m sure your kids will be hideous.

7) Jeff- sending me up and down the stairs just because fuck me right. I didn’t respect your sophomore ass then, I never did the rest of semester.

8) I don’t know who you were to this day, but during parade you’re the asshole who kept kicking my feet trying to fuck with me. I fantasize about things I could have done different. I could have turned around and slugged you, or gotten to the parade deck and just walked out of formation, just to mortify the entire school and all the tourists. I would have made the news. Thing I’m most upset about though, is not knowing who you were. If I ever find out, you’ll hope we never cross paths asshole.

 

 

 

 

On To Bigger, Better Things: It Really Does Get Better

Before I get into how and why shit really does get a hell of a lot better, I’ll write a little about the VA and why it is so difficult for many of us to seek help from that system.

 

Walking into a VA hospital is a coin flip for every veteran who suffers from, well, anything really.  On one side, you might flip heads and end up with a great doctor who will check your records, listen to what you have to say, give you an examination, run some tests, and assign to you the medical treatments that you will require while being a professional.  However, some of us flip tails and end up with…substandard healthcare.  I don’t mean that you will either be treated like a hero or a villain for life, I mean every time you walk through those doors, your experience will be different.

 

If you spent any amount of time in the Marines, you know that everything comes from the lowest bidder.  The doctors at VA hospitals are no different.  There are many men and women in the system that are very genuine in their pursuit of helping sick and injured veterans, but of course there are also some that are only there to enhance their careers.  Many of them are fresh from college, which is good and bad.  They lack experience but have all of the modern knowledge…which is also a two-sided coin.  I’m not trying to go all Harvey Dent on you, but it really is a coin flip at every turn in the VA system.  Some of the more experienced doctors have vast reserves of information in their heads, but have become so jaded by scams and “advice” from above that they will treat every patient as if they are only seeking a drug connection (that is, unless the patient is over 70).  The nurses are…well, honestly your nurses will either be sweet as pie and full of sunshine and rainbows or complete bitches who don’t give a shit because “ugh, *tch* I’m on break.”  Males included.  Some guys bitch about the “foreign” doctors, but they are just as professional and courteous as any other docs you’ll meet.  The best help I have received came from two Pakistani doctors, so pay no attention to the racist/nationalist bullshit from our older, less enlightened brethren.  Some of the older guys and patients with hearing loss ask a nurse to basically interpret, though.  If you get a doc with an industrial strength accent, the nurses will be ready to answer your questions.  I have met a couple guys in group that had to request another doc because they couldn’t handle baring their soul to a guy who looks and sounds eerily similar to the men they fought against.

 

And there are the pills…

 

If you suffer from chronic pain, be ready for one of two things to happen:

1.  You will be treated with respect and dignity while receiving the help you need for you injury.

2.  You will be treated like a common criminal.

 

You will likely get the medications you require to kill the pain and allow you to function as a productive member of society.  However, some doctors have become very jaded by their years of doctoring and dealing with addicts and will therefore use extreme scrutiny when considering your individual needs.  Some of them will ask you what medications you want as a test to see if you jump right to opiates, which will lead them to believe you don’t need the meds, you’re just a filthy, lying goddamned junky.  When you are standing in line at the pharmacy window, you will very likely find out why this is because loud mouthed shitbags exist in the VA system as well and they have no problem bragging/complaining to you about their “score.”  Yeah, you have to deal with shitbags in the civ div, too (fuckin’ frowny face and shit, man).

 

The mental health side is just as messy, if not worse.  Mental health care has become a trial and error process of seeing what chemicals are less likely to put you down for good.  There are now over 300 different *cough*bullshit*cough* diagnoses that can be given to anyone, whereas there used to be only a handful (which included female hysteria and drapetomania…and that’s your cue to google those two terms by the way).  Again, some docs will ask you which medications you would prefer to weed out addicts.  If you request that they NOT prescribe you anti-something pills, you will likely be prescribed something anyways and receive a “voluntarily refused treatment” statement on your medical record if you choose not to use them- a form you have to sign in order to continue receiving health care from the VA.  Any time you don’t follow their advice, you have to sign another one.  The system is usually pretty clogged up with red tape shit like that.  They are required to prescribe pills because that is the new thing to do and apparently therapy wasn’t cost effective (but was in reality very effective for veterans).  Appointments are usually a few months apart and are very difficult to schedule sooner unless there is an emergency.  The chemicals do not begin to work for two to six weeks and sometimes make things like PTSD, depression, and suicidal thoughts/tendencies to intensify.  SOP for worsening symptoms is to stop taking the medication immediately and contact your doc for a replacement, leaving a several-week time span where the veteran is extremely vulnerable and sick before they can ever see someone who can help them.  When they go back, they are given a different chemical and the process repeats until they find something that doesn’t make the problem too much worse, succumb to their ailment, or get very pissed off and find their own way to deal (this last one is not recommended by professionals).

 

That all being said, the system does seem to do more good than it gets credit for.  I once ended up with acute pancreatitis (I would suggest avoiding this if at all possible) and they helped me avoid losing that inflamed little bastard.  When I had nowhere to sleep, they hooked me up with a local mission, who in turn, due to an unnecessarily intense confrontation with the manager, pointed me towards the hotel our VA uses to house transient patients.  Their substance abuse programs are pretty useful.  I haven’t eaten any strange medications or had more than one beer since February of 2013 and I was shitfaced nearly every day before that. I was adviced to find the best alcohol rehab near me, which was nothing like I thought it to be. The counselling and groups helped me take the first significant steps to detoxification. Without the alcohol, my depression eased up a bit.  Enough that I decided to stop taking anti-pills.  That did suck at first; coming off of any brain-altering chemical will be awkward at the very least.  Separating myself from my old friends/bad influences helped A LOT.  The group sessions they hold are often very eye-opening.  When I was in the inpatient program, they had classes every morning and a group session before and after lunch, then another class.  Group was held by the head counselor-guy and was usually a motivating speech then whoever would talk about whatever, the conversations centering around positivity and letting go of the things that truly do not matter.  After these talks, I would always feel better about some ass-chewing or bullshit game because I had realized that it was almost always due to shoddy leadership instead of a personal failure.  It gives a lot of intelligent insight into how and why people become assholes.

 

Many of the most useful things I learned there came from other veterans who had made far poorer choices than I and for much longer.  There were retired officers and SNCO’s with cocaine and crack problems.  Bad ones.  Alcoholism was present in nearly everyone, but there were people that were addicted to meth, heroine, pills, eating, shopping, sex (seriously, the most honest addicts you will ever meet are sex addicts), and even success.  That is a real thing by the way.  Several guys from my local VA are literally addicted to gaining a fortune then losing it all so they can get it back over and over.  This happens to people on both sides of the law.  Most of them never touched the harder shit until after they got out, which kind of has to be expected.  Be prepared, however, as you may hear some stories that will curdle your spermicles and make you think to yourself, “holy shit how the fuck are you even alive right now?” or “wow, dude, you really should be in prison right now” and those aren’t even the war stories.  Shit will make you sick sometimes but you have to sit through it to get a proper perspective on how truly flawed our system is.

 

They feed you.  It is food, and it…um, has nutrients?  Sometimes it has taste, but most of the time it will be hospital food that is very easy to digest (its all soft and bland).  It’s hot, it’s free, and it’s always on time, so you can’t really complain.  To quote Alfred Matthew Yankovic:  “Just eat it.”

 

Job placement services are available to any veteran who wants help finding a good/better job.  Inpatients can get part-time to full-time employment within the VA doing things like laundry, painting, landscaping, and other manual labor jobs while they are being treated.  It is a good way to save up a little cash so that when you’re treatment is through you can find a place and a vehicle.  Some VA’s have on-site or nearby group homes where patients that have completed the program can live and work.

 

Normally there is at least one VFW representative in the hospital somewhere.  Even if you haven’t deployed to a war zone or seen combat, they will help you file your claim and work with you if you are having legal troubles.  There are sometimes volunteers who come in to help veterans with financial woes like bankruptcy, losing their home, or the almost obligatory bad credit so many of us tend to accumulate.  They will even do your taxes if it is February – April for the free.  These fine folks, the VFW and volunteers, will help you buy a fucking house!

 

Many of the employers they can introduce you to are very awesome people who want to hire you.  It may be a little bit of blind troop worship, but use it to your advantage because if you don’t, a shitbag will abuse it until they no longer accept us.

 

Education benefits are the easiest thing to apply for, and they will help you with that, too.  If you have had problems with school due to anxiety, depression, PTSD, or something similar, your docs can pull a string or two and keep your instructor from dropping you due to absence or tardiness.  That “string” being a letter stating that you are seeking assistance for a disability and they must accommodate your illness’s unfortunate side-effects.

 

It can be difficult for many of us to even walk through those doors for the first time.  The “only shitbags go to medical” mentality follows some of us for life, stripping us of the willingness to seek out medical help until it is often too late.  Horror stories of bad experiences with staff, treatments, and policies ruin some peoples’ opinion of VA healthcare, but those stories often lack the important elements of truth and perspective.

 

I didn’t know what to expect when I walked into a VA for mental health and substance abuse help.  I mean, I knew where to go and what the buildings looked like and all of that because I grew up there; my ma worked around the VA for most of my life and I had been in and around just about every building.  The anxiety I experienced was very intense for the first couple of hours, but that was mostly due to the fact that the mental health ward was once home to the bed where, as a child, I watched cancer slowly turn my grandfather into a 70-pound skeleton.  That realization later helped me a little bit by reminding me how bad things can get when you replace someone’s instinct for self-preservation with John Wayne Macho Bravado.  I wasn’t sure how the doc would react or how the other personnel would treat me:  were they going to be dicks like the old, jaded docs, or calm, understanding, and willing to listen and help.  They were definitely in the latter category.

 

Counselors helped me figure out what my problems really were instead of just ticking off symptoms on a checklist and tossing a diagnosis my way.  This was a huge step.  It is hard to fix yourself if you don’t know what is wrong.  Medications are for treating symptoms and are used for sustaining stability.  Therapy and getting it all out is the cure.  For some at least.  It appears that many of us depart the Corps with some demons, and an exorcism of sorts is often in order.  I found my outlets in art and beating the ever-loving shit out of an old heavy bag.  Painting something horribly violent, disgusting, or ugly helps me focus.  Tits work also, but making pretty things has never really been my thing.  Being an addict, however, is often a life-long ordeal, so many people just trade one addiction for another…or several.

 

Instead of drinking, I hobby.  I hobby my ass off.  Old, broken things are easily acquired for the cheap, and I find a lot of crap to fix in order to stay busy.  If something is broken or looks like shit, I feel obligated to immediately fix and improve it if I can.  It took me a while to realize that this was not a fault and should be used to my advantage.  The counselors helped me get back into school and even offered to help me with homework if I had any.  I had already finished all of the prerequisites like readin’ and ritin’, and in auto tech there isn’t much homework, but the sentiment was there, and I appreciated the crap out of it.

 

With my mind slowly beginning to work properly again, I was able to concentrate in school and take the next step and find a job.  After a few unsuccessful attempts at working around a large number of people, I found a part-time job as a janitor.  Already being fully trained (and possibly over-qualified), I was hired on and have been skat…cleaning buildings for about a year, which is the longest I have held a job for a while.  Those of us who have problems with anxiety (and no shame) should look into janitry:  It is easy, relaxed, quiet, and above all else, nobody fucks with the janitor.

 

Employed and doing well in school, things were looking better.  I slowly weened myself off of anything stronger than ibuprofen until I was off prescriptions altogether.  I waited a few months to tell my doctor about this because I figured he would come down with a case of the Butt Hurts, but he instead was not only supportive, he told me that is their goal.  The doctors and counselors want to see us off the medications because they know how harmful they can be but are required to issue them – if we have improved that is.  My counselors were initially against me stopping my medications but once I showed them that I was getting better, they were much more supportive.  It needs to be noted that you should never simply stop taking your meds and think that shit will magically get better.  If you aren’t ready to change, dropping your meds will only hurt you.  It needs to be done gradually and with a good amount of control.  You can’t take a double dose to make up for having a bad day or because you have an important interview, it ruins the progress, and you can’t just stop for a few days and then start taking them again when you start feeling like shit again because they will take a while to kick back in and by then you could be anywhere from perfectly fine to permanently confined.

 

So, unnecessarily long story short, I’ve held a job for a year, stopped drinking, got released from death by prescription, gained my physical and mental health back, and earned an associate’s degree in auto tech.  Sure, plenty of people have accomplished much, much more and against much greater and dire odds, but it was my struggle and I made it my bitch.  For now.

 

Some of the most important things I learned from all of this:

 

-Alcohol and drugs are not the answer.  A couple of beers or blunts now and then between friends who are celebrating a victory or an accomplishment is perfectly healthy, but getting wasted to relieve stress or forget about your problems is counter-productive, depressing, and potentially dangerous.

 

-Talk to someone.  Believe it or not, there is at least one person in your life that WANTS to hear your story, and you need to get it off of your chest before it crushes the life out of you.

 

-Keep yourself busy.  When you are in the Corps, you are almost never truly “bored,” you just spend a shit load of time waiting.  There is always something that needs to be done, and even if you spent the majority of your time avoiding said thing-that-needs-to-be-done, your mind was occupied.  Without the constant use your brain is accustomed to, it will find things to occupy itself, those things often being negative memories or other triggers.

 

-Find someone to talk to.  This doesn’t mean you need a girlfriend, boyfriend, fuck buddy, friend with boobs, or that guy you met through Craigslist’s casual encounters section that swears he just wants to watch you play with it a little, it means have another person around that will listen.  Family members, spouses, and old friends can be hard to talk to because they do not understand, so you may have to adapt and overcome by getting yourself a good dog (hey man, worked for me).

 

-Death won’t help.  Killing yourself will not end your troubles, it will ruin the lives of everyone around you instead.  If you have children, they will be scarred for the rest of their lives and will feel at fault or that you are doing it to punish them.  If you are married, your spouse will feel like it is their fault for not loving you enough.  Your parents will feel like they are to blame.  Your friends?  They too, will think they were the cause of your demise.  The guys and gals from your old units?  Yep, them, too.  They will feel terrible because, “I should have known but didn’t.”  I have been unfortunate enough to have been on several sides of this confusing octahedron, and can tell you that every side is just as awful.

 

-Talk it out.  Tell your story.  If you don’t trust anyone enough to listen, write it out.  Find a pen, pencil, marker, crayon, finger-full-of-shoe-polish, half-frozen cat turd, whatever.  Scribble that shit on a pizza box if you have to.  Burn it into your neighbor’s lawn if you want, I don’t care,  just get your story out.  Grab a keyboard and pound out a few words here on this very site if you can.  (Have I stressed the importance of talking about your problems yet?)

 

-It gets better.  It really, truly does.  The world may seem like an endless ocean of shit, but you have to keep swimming:  The Shit gets thick and sticky, but that just means you have to push a little harder to get through it.  The Shit may confuse you at times or obscure your view of the goal, but you have to wipe it out of your eyes and keep pushing onward and upward.  The Shit gets heavy, but you have to push it off your back and keep going.  The Shit gets deep, but you can’t let it suck you down.  The Shit can seem to suck the life right out of you sometimes, but you have to keep kicking your legs and pushing that shit out of your way so you can breath and move on.  Don’t ever let The Shit keep you down.

 

 

 

-AAVPOG

On To Bigger, Better Things: Old Habits Die Hard

The ER folk were nice enough to ensure that my official diagnosis included the words “heat stroke” so that my supervisors couldn’t question it and were forced to deal with their plant’s shady conditions.

Still awaiting approval from the company’s health insurer however, I had nowhere else to go but the VA for help.  I explained to them the basics of what had happened:  I lost my shit and worked myself into a nice, healthy heat stroke.  They immediately began the guessing game of throwing random pills at me in a feeble attempt to find a combination that worked, much to my disappointment and gastronomical discomfort (that went on for seven years).  Note to anyone going to the VA for mental health issues;  just say no to drugs.  Chemicals are for extreme cases, therapy often works much better and will not turn you into a sad zombie with a slowly rotting digestive system.  I felt so sick the first couple of weeks that I called in enough to lose my job and things quickly started to get out of control.

A good friend from Okinawa offered me a place to stay for a while in another state, so I took him up on the offer.  It turned out that he was having similar issues dealing with acclimating to the 1st Civ Div and hating the VA‘s endless bullshit.  The job market around there was limited due to a large auto manufacturer closing its doors, making it difficult to even get a job as a clerk at a video store or gas station.  After a couple of months, my savings were almost exhausted and I made the horrible decision to move back home around family and old friends.

To be honest, moving back in with the family wasn’t all that bad at first.  It was cheap and…well, it was cheap and I was broke.  Sure, there was little privacy, but it would only be for a few weeks, a month at best.  A few part-time jobs and an entire year later, I realized I was stuck.  Trying to move seemed impossible as it was prohibitively expensive and brought guilt trips that would make a recruiter tear up with pride.  One of the worst parts of living in a house full of needy females with no permanent male entity in their lives…the guilt trips.  Guilt works on the depressed like nothing else, probably due to the incredible amount of it already present.  If you come from a close-knit family, you know how difficult it can be to “leave them behind to fend for themselves” as they often put it.  Having a suicidal family member does not help this, like, at all (if she offs herself, its your fault for not being there to prevent it, apparently).  It felt like moving on with my life would be turning my back on everyone I cared about.  Again.

Trying to deal with shitty jobs, selfish-asshole family members, keeping myself clean, and generally hating life again was getting to be too much.  I eventually said “fuck it” and started hanging around the only people who took an interest; my old high school friends.

Know how your recruiter and all those SNCO’s kept screaming about how your buddies back home aren’t doing anything but playing Nintendo and popping out welfare babies?  It is, for the most part, bullshit.  Some of them might be doing the same shit they were when you were kids, but many of them have upgraded, for better or worse.

My best friend was The Dro Man.  Not a regular connect, but the guy that stays on Baskin Robbins status (31 flavors – from Poor to Coma quality).  His circle of friends was full of familiar faces who accepted me and didn’t ask a lot of questions.  Partying was generally a big part of that life, making attendance at bars, clubs, concerts, and parties essential, as was sampling the products for quality control and proving your legitimacy by consuming large amounts of booze, weed, and hallucinogens.  Cocaine made random appearances, but was mostly looked down upon in our circle.  Alcohol helped desensitize my anxiety but also destroyed my speech filter and removed my ability to closely monitor my actions while using it.  There were some decent looking ladies around who loved to party, but they were definitely not the kind you’d want to spend more than a few hours with if you have a decent amount of intelligence in you.  Run-ins with thieves, thugs, and gangsters were common, as were special guest appearances by LEO’s with and without warrants (SURPRISE!).  Getting pulled over several times a week gets old very fast, especially when they start addressing you by your first name before they even get a chance to see your ID.  That is when you know it is time to slow your roll.  Long story short:  Some shit went down, a house got raided and trashed, a dog caught a flash-bang to the face, and prison sentences were barely avoided.

The problem with…um…retirement…was that people tend  to not believe it.  Years have passed and I still run into people who ask me if I can hook them up with someone or some dumb shit like that.  I never  directly sold but they still ask because I’m guilty by association.  Several times within the first year of his retirement he had his door kicked in by people who thought he still had pounds and stacks.

This is where I go off on a tangent:  Look, I know it may seem exhilarating to put your boot through someone’s front door and order them flat on the floor with your weapon pointed at their head, but you shouldn’t brag about it to your civilian buddies, or anyone for that matter.  Until you have been on the other side of that experience, you will never understand how fucked up it is.  How would you like it if you were curled up on the couch with your old lady (or whatever you call the gal that lets you put your thing in her)  about to get some and out of fucking nowhere the door flies open and there’s some random asshole standing there pointing a shotgun at you?  You like to sleep, right?  What if you were peacefully sleeping off an epic hangover, only to be woken up to a big, black, metallic cave being aimed into your eyes?  Know how you like to get your drink on and play some Call of Duty with your pals on the weekend?  What if you were sitting around having an awesome time and several large men kicked your doors in and pointed gun barrels in your faces?  That would be kind of fucked up, wouldn’t it?  (Yes, I see the humor in a former marine playing a combat-simulation game while being robbed at gunpoint.)

Note:  Robbers usually leave when they realize there is nothing to be taken but an old xbox and an early 90’s big-screen with a busted housing.  Keep it simple, guys.

Most of the time when shit went down it was relatively tame, like some guy that just wanted to snatch some nonexistent green or imaginary, rumored cash.  It only got truly dangerous once, and it had nothing to do with drugs or money.

I was outside on the front porch attempting to cleanse my palette of some sub-standard alcoholic beverages via regurgitation when this great big fat person appeared and began demanding that I bring her the racist expletive who…something or another.  I was pretty drunk and had no idea what the fat harpy was screeching about.  All I remember was her dropping N-bombs like it was trendy or something.  Anyway, I felt some shit hit my face, like someone had thrown a handful of glass at me, and all sound faded in a split second.  The door opened and my buddy was standing there for a second before yelling something and slamming the door as sparks flew off of the screen’s frame.  Trying to figure out what hit me, I looked at the house and saw there was a small hole surrounded by a broken kind-of-circle where the siding had shattered.  Thinking to myself, “what in the absolute fuck is going on here -”  I heard what sounded like a balloon popping but much louder and saw a couple more holes appear in the house, sending more shards of dusty siding towards me.  I then theorized, “well, shit.  I think someone might be shooting at me.”  A quick glance to my left confirmed that someone was definitely crouched down in an improper kneeling position attempting to put rounds into my chubby tummy and/or grizzled melon.  I turned and found the closest cover I could find – a car.  Pulling the handle as the windshield exploded forced me to realize two things:

1.  The goddamned doors were locked.
2.  I should find better cover because this fucker was still shooting.

A few holes appeared in the garage as I sprinted towards the back of the house but none of them hit me, proving my brother’s old hypothesis that I could be extremely fucking lucky sometimes.  At the back of the house, I ducked behind the fence and waited in the dark for whoever to pop around the corner and catch a Spyderco to the jugular, but no one followed.  The sounds of car doors slamming shut, an engine rapidly increasing RPM’s, and tires breaking traction told me they took off, so I ran back up front to make sure everyone inside was alright.  They were.

Local law enforcement popped in to say hello, take selfies, police-call brass, take measurements and statements, and tell me that the round that hit the house next to my face missed my grape by a couple of inches at best, which was reassuring (thank goodness for terrible marksmanship, amirite?).  A couple of phone calls revealed that the shooter was someone’s ex’s sister’s boyfriend’s something’s someone’s…whatever, look it doesn’t matter; his old lady caught a few man-slaps from an ejected, disorderly partier earlier in the evening and he wanted to avenge her, I dunno, honor or something.  Because, you know, murdering a stranger is totally fine if they slapped your gal, I guess.

It took a lot to wake me up.  Even being shot at by random strangers didn’t seem to bother me enough to make me want to get away from that type of situation.  Sure, I couldn’t sleep for a while and carried my .45 everywhere, but it could have been worse I suppose.  It took hitting what I felt was rock bottom for me to take a step back and observe.

Drinking always left me a little depressed at the end of the night.  Some nights much more than others.  Most of the time I could force myself to pass out or find something tiring to do, but occasionally I would find myself extremely intoxicated and unable to do anything but think.  Thinking for too long led to a downward spiral of disgust and hate for the careless, irresponsible asshole I thought I had become over the years.  Things that wouldn’t bother most people stuck out in my mind as red flags that signaled how fucked up I was.  Stuff like Aryan Nation biker dudes immediately assuming I was a skin head.  I had gained over 70 pounds since my EAS and looked like ape shit.  That head Carny offering me a job on sight.  My old “respectable” friends would no longer be seen with me, even the few friends I made in the Corps began to shy away from me and after a while, completely broke contact.  It’s not as if I ever stole anything or cheated anyone, I was just given the “he’s a lost cause” treatment and dismissed.  I understood that sometimes you just have to cut toxic elements out of your life.  My home life got much worse over time.  I kept up the bills and house maintenance type of shit and stayed away for the most part, but would still catch family members speaking ill no matter how much effort I put into helping out.  My education was getting pushed aside for work, family and social obligations, ruining my GPA.  Relationship problems with females only added to all of that garbage.  I would sit and hate all of that for hours on end, trying as hard as I could to keep it together and figure out what exactly in the hell I was supposed to do to fix it all.  Anxiety attacks became more and more intense as time passed, and it became very difficult to control myself when I was alone and inebriated.  I eventually came to the genius conclusion that eating every pill the VA prescribed me and whatever else I had lying around and then dying was a good idea (it was not).  Luckily, my rotten bastard of a gut forced every last pill, beer, buffalo wing, and sloppy film of bile from my insides in a glorious, forty-minute salute to projectile regurgitation and painful dry-heaving.  It wasn’t the first or last time I thought about killing myself, but it stuck with me, like a sign that it wasn’t my time and that I needed to push on for some reason I won’t understand.  Soon after that I found myself needing a place to live again, and with the encouragement of a few friends, forced myself to nervously walk into the VA and ask for help.

Next Time:  It Really Does Get Better

Hazing and the “New Corps”

“The measure of a man is what he does with power.” – Plato

 

My feet hit those adorable little yellow footprints in January of 2002, and from T-1 all the way up until my EAS in 2006, I heard “New Corps” at least five times a day.  It always amused me to see 19 year old kids and 30 year old men complaining about how the world was going to shit because they couldn’t IT a 17 year old boy barely out of high school for forgetting to shave.  I was issued “old school” woodlands which required heavy starching and ironing in order to make them look sweet.  I was issued black leather boots that needed to be cleaned, buffed, and polished every night and touched up throughout the day.  Most of us took a lot of pride in our uniforms and the hours of maintenance that came with them.  When the spiffy new digital camouflage utilities emerged, nearly every Staff NCO, NCO, and Senior Lance began having meltdown after hilariously embarrassing meltdown, screeching and wailing like meth-addicted banshees about how ri-goddamned-diculous it was that they weren’t allowed to starch or iron them.  And the boots!  YOU CAN’T SPIT SHINE THEM??  WHAT THE FUCK??  MY MARINES WON’T HAVE SHINY FEET??  NOOOOO!!!  All ending with violent fist shaking towards the heavens and a moon-shattering “DAMN YOUS NEW CORPS!! DAMN YOUS ALL TO HELL!!”

 

It, uh…It got intense.

 

Digital utilities and the new boots meant, in reality, less time spent on starching, ironing, and polishing and more effective camouflage.  Marines who were not issued Marpat were so confounded by this change that many simply refused to wear them, until units began officially making them the uniform of the day, to try to preserve their status as “old school.”  Boots were buying old utilities and jungles in attempt to fit in and be “Old Corps.”  It was beautiful. [single tear forms before I force it back in like a man.]

 

Everything that was updated, changed or different was immediately terrible and was blamed on this “New Corps.”

 

Civilians running the Chow halls?  Damn that New Corps!  Drill Instructor gets removed for spraying a recruit in the face with windex?  Damn that New Corps!  Changing the way the Rifle Range is scored?  Damn that New Corps!  Getting rid of 5-tons so Motor T has to learn about 7-tons?  Damn that New Corps!  We have to sit through another Safety Brief/Stand Down?  Damn that New Corps!  Most often it was basically “Troop welfare is better than when I was that rank…FUCKING NEW CORPS!! UUUUGGGGHHHH!!” (with or without violent, childish tantrum-kicking.)

 

Many Marines never open their eyes enough to realize that at one point, this “New Corps” was blamed for making them trade in their trusty M-14 for a POS M-16, a musket with balls for a rifle with cartridges, and a horse for a tank.  Speaking with WWII, Korean War, and Vietnam veterans will provide much insight into this, as they all will tell you about Marines who bitched about the “New Corps” or “Kinder, Gentler Marine Corps” when they served.

 

Point being:  Progress and change in the Corps are viewed as dangerous, unnecessary, and coddling.  When the AAV was originally scheduled to be replaced by the AAAV (aka EFV) nearly every 2141 and 1833 complained about the training that they would need if that happened.  Instead of being excited about receiving a faster, safer, and overall better piece of equipment, they all blamed this new technology (which was never instated) for the decline of their beloved Corps.  Their “logic” was:  “Marines don’t need air-conditioning in a combat vehicle!  Quick-disconnect parts are for bitches!  That 25mm Bushmaster isn’t as cool as my m2 and mk19, I don’t care if it CAN hit a target in 6 foot swells from a longer distance, I don’t need no dang ole’ electronics helping me shoot!  Going 35 knots isn’t much faster than 8, that’s a waste of power!  These vehicles being easier to diagnose, repair, maintain, and operate will lead to my Marines becoming complacent and turning into shit bags!”

 

By far, the most hilariously stupid use of New Corps Blaming was unleashed upon anyone mentioning the hazing policy.  I came in several years after the original order was instated and there were still Marines who claimed to not fully understand it.  It was a fairly simple order;  Incentive Training was for recruits at MCRD’s only, no public humiliation, no physical assaults, no consenting to being hazed or abused, and punishments must make sense.  For example:  If he is late for formation, the Marine stays late that week or has to be in early the next week to write an essay so that he knows what he did wrong and how to fix it, instead of forcing him to PT which would only add to his exhaustion and teach him that he can fuck up all he wants as long as he can keep up with whoever is running him.  If his uniform looks like dusty ass, he should stand several uniform inspections until he has proved that he is competent in that area of Devil Doggyness.  If his room looks like six hobos held an epic fisting orgy overnight, he should lose his weekend to a proper Field Day (Chinese if there is mold or is an extreme case).  If he is a fat body or cannot pass a PFT, extra PT should be used to fix those deficiencies, where an essay or uniform inspection could not.

 

There is often a good amount of debate between Marines as to what type of punishment fits each offense.  A common misconception is that extra PT will solve any problem by teaching Marines that physical pain is the result of making a mistake.  This is incorrect.  It teaches him that he can get away with being a poor quality Marine as long as he can exercise well.  Some argue that it is better to take a Marine out to the tree line and beat some sense into him than to “ruin his career with paperwork.”  This does not teach him to correct his deficiencies, it teaches him that it is acceptable to assault someone when they make the wrong choice, there will be no official repercussion if he does, and that he can be a failure as a Marine but still stay in the Corps because he has a clean record.

 

Some types of hazing are fairly innocent, and like many Marines, I have no problem with those.  Tasking a young devil with finding an eight pound bolt stretcher, some grid squares, blinker fluid, or 50 feet of shore-line is not humiliating, but it does show him that work can be sacrificed in order to play games.  Inside jokes help form lasting bonds, every adult realizes that.  Including the new guy in those inside jokes helps him acclimate to the environment and feel like part of the team, especially when he can include someone in the joke later on down the road.  Pranks that don’t waste time and resources and do not result in someone being injured or humiliated are fine in my opinion, and I doubt many Marines would disagree with me on that.

 

Tradition is often cited as a reason for allowing hazing.  A notable tradition being the NCO Blood Stripe ceremony.  When a Marine is promoted to Corporal, he walks between two rows of senior NCO’s who each punch him in the shoulder to “make the rank stick” and knee him in the thigh, creating a line of bruises that are supposed to mimic the scarlet stripe on NCO and Officer dress blue trousers.  Marines are taught in boot camp that the Corps uses the blood stripe to remember that 90% of all Officers and NCO’s were lost during the Battle of Chapultepec in 1847, and this ceremony is supposed to honor that.  In reality, the losses were much less significant (7 out of 400-450 men) and the Marine Corps borrowed the blood stripe from the Army in 1840.  Freshly promoted Corporals often have trouble walking for at least a day after this pointless, historically inaccurate ceremony, and a few have formed blood clots that have endangered their careers and lives.  If we are going to have traditions, let us at the very least make sure that they don’t make us look like fools.  If you want to congratulate your brother for being promoted, shake his hand like a man.

 

As for as the “tradition” argument; the Corps has never tolerated hazing.  Before the current order was instated it was just called an Article 93 (Cruelty and Maltreatment).  Putting a new name on and bringing attention to an old problem does not make the Corps weaker or softer, it helps address an existing issue so that future Marines can have a better Corps than you did.  Children that were abused are more likely to abuse their own children, and the same goes for Marines.  If we don’t work together and stop making the same mistakes our predecessors made, the Marine Corps will never be the elite organization that we all wanted it to be.

 

tl;dr – You are always boot to someone who thinks you are ruining their Corps.  Don’t be a dick and ruin it for everyone who serves after you.

On To Bigger, Better Things: Assaulting the Civilian World

The disclaimer *your experience may vary* should be attached to every Marine Corps picture, poster, social media post, commercial, and Recruiter.  Four years of on and off severe alcohol abuse and depression due to horrible and sadistic leadership failures were not what was promised, but that is what I got.  When your recruiter promised you all of those outstanding training opportunities, remember how he said that they would transfer towards college credits?  Like everything else he told you, that is a lie with a little kernel of truth tucked firmly inside.

 

Transition Assistance classes taught me how to see how many college credits my training would translate to, and it was horrifying.  I had been through basic and advanced vehicle maintenance courses including electrical, hydraulic, pneumatic, fuel and emissions, diesel diagnostics and troubleshooting, tracked suspension, and maintenance and complete overhaul for engines, transmissions, PTO’s, winches, electrical components, and hydraulic components.  Unfortunately, there was no complete survey done for my MOS school’s basic or advanced courses, so I was awarded zero translated credit for learning more than most diesel mechanics with an Associate’s.  When I learned about this, I spoke with my peers then brought it up to a superior that we should find a way to get the survey group to work with the school towards awarding credit for the training we received.  I almost expected a “good initiative Devil Dog, Marines could benefit from this” I got an ass chewing about how selfish it was for me to bitch about not getting college credits merely because I was about to EAS.  Explaining that I did not know about this deficiency in our training programs until then was useless and only resulted in a longer and more motivated ass chewing for being insubordinate and talking back to a superior.

 

When my terminal leave date came around, I grabbed my papers, changed into civvies in the head, which was now a bathroom again, and hit the road not caring what I was going to do as long as I was done with that bullshit.  I had enrolled in some classes at a community college back home, but I had about a month until school started and wanted to drift.  My first couple of weeks were spent on my brother’s couch.  He didn’t seem to mind.  We were never close friends despite growing up in the same bedroom, but he seemed genuinely more concerned with my mental health than with my plans for the future.  I brushed it off at the time as him being a senior NCO in another branch more than a big brother looking out for me.  I went back to my home town and moved back in with the Mama until I could find a place.  Going to the community college to get books and an ID, I was informed that my GI Bill paperwork had been lost and then found, but that it was too late by the time they got it in and I was unable to receive my benefits for that semester.  That shouldn’t have been a problem as long as I could get a PEL grant or something, right?  Actually, no, you made too much money last year as a Corporal, so you cannot receive a financial aid to go to school.  For the first seven days of the semester, I would have still been on terminal leave, making me ineligible the Illinois Veteran’s Grant, which would have paid tuition.  No problem, I’ll just get a small loan and – I’m sorry, all of our spots are filled but you can come back towards the end of the semester and register for the fall if you want.  Okay, fuck, well, I can always go on unemployment and get a Joe job until then, something low key, really easy with no bullshit to deal with.

 

Unemployment was awful.  It is nowhere close to enough to make the bills on your own, even as a bachelor.  I moved into a trailer on an old guy’s property (less than five and its not a trailer park!) with my buddy because I could not afford it alone.  Four months of hardcore job searching and resisting the urge to burn a great big fat-ass joint later and I end up working as a machine maintenance/operator guy person in a factory for $16/hour.  Not bad for someone with almost no official education going into a non-union position at the time.  It wasn’t that I was overly qualified however, it was mainly due to the unemployment office’s veteran’s coordinator, who was a Chief and a recruiter for a Big Ten college and knew nearly everyone in town who worked in personnel management.  It was a pretty decent job, and allowed me to move into much nicer digs the day my second paycheck hit my hands.

 

Somehow though, I was extremely unhappy.  I had everything I had been wanting for years; a decent paying job where I don’t have to deal with being micromanaged, a nice place with my buddy, and all the freedom I could handle.  But I didn’t feel…right.  I didn’t feel like I belonged in the civilian world, or anywhere.  I knew I didn’t belong in the Marine Corps any longer and that nothing would ever get me to go back, but I  felt like there was no one I could relate to anymore.

 

Civilians didn’t understand.  They didn’t understand why I gave them a dirty look while I picked up that piece of trash they threw on the ground next to the trash can.  They didn’t understand why I paused so often and chose my words carefully when talking about the Marine Corps, using words like “appropriate” instead of steal.  They didn’t understand why I had to excuse myself and walk away when I was pissed.  They didn’t seem to understand why I would be upset when they would wipe off the equipment with a greasy rag instead of washing it off with soap and water, or why I would bring them five extra pairs of ear plugs for their tool box if they weren’t wearing any.  I ended up downplaying my time in the Corps by saying, “it was okay most of the time,” or “it wasn’t all bad,” which are both very similar to the things said by abused spouses and children.

 

The questions they would ask were the worst, as they brought up all of the random, awful feelings right back but with much more intensity and regret.  If you are a civilian and meet a veteran, please do not ask them a lot of questions.  Most of us really just don’t want to talk about it, we are out and want to leave it behind us.  Now that I am thinking about it, here are some questions that you should avoid when speaking to a veteran:

 

Did you have/get to kill anyone?

If you ask this question:  Fuck You.  That is an extremely personal question that brings up the feelings associated with ending another human being’s life.  Anyone who answers this question with “hell yeah, it was awesome blah blah…” is a liar or has severe emotional problems associated with combat.

 

Did you ever watch anyone die or get shot/blown up/vaporized?

This is very similar to asking if they have killed someone, and should be avoided.  Do not prod a veteran for information about a fallen comrade, it is disrespectful.  If they trust you enough to tell you about it, they will volunteer the information when they are comfortable.

 

Did you have to deploy/go to war?

This one is seemingly innocent, but it also brings up all of the horrible things that Marines have to go through before, during, and after deployments.  They do not want to think about these things because they can be emotional triggers.  Marines that did not deploy often feel as if they haven’t done their job as a Marine by going to war and dying.  The workload on rear-element units are greatly increased and they have minimal personnel with which to accomplish their mission and are often treated with much less respect despite their efforts simply due to them not being in a unit when it deployed.  Again, if they want to talk about it, they will tell you.

 

Did you lose any close friends?

The short answer to this question is always going to be “yes.”  Everyone loses friends, but not everyone wants to talk about it.  We have all lost friends during training accidents and to IED’s, enemy attacks, car accidents, murders, or suicides.  We generally don’t want to think about it, just like you. If not for such unfortunate endings, we surely will have to deal with the legal issues that follow an accident. Many of us do not even know the basics of proceeding with such cases. Walking back to the normal days isn’t a far-fetched dream anymore with Lawyer Steven G. Jugo to help us.

 

You seemed to have not liked it, did you get kicked out or something?

You talk shit about your last job, did you get fired or something?  No, most of us have not been kicked out, we decided to move on with our lives.  Many, MANY people that wasted their youth in the military absolutely hated it, and they weren’t kicked out.  Even if they were, it was likely the result of them standing up for themselves or because a service-connected condition forced them to be retired or caused them to behave inappropriately.

 

Other than my room mates and the few devils I kept in touch with, I didn’t have a social life.  Bars were no fun because I hated crowds and didn’t drink, as were concerts, festivals, fairs, and probably even the circus I suppose.  I played a lot of PS2 and worked a lot of shifts.  I did everything I could to keep my mind off of my buddies back in the Suck who were deployed but couldn’t shake the feeling that I was doing nothing to help and that that fact made me a shitty excuse for a Marine.  I couldn’t shake the feeling that maybe those asshole SNCO’s and NCO’s were right after all…I mean…some of my friends from high school are literally doing the exact same shit they used to, except now they do it in bars and have added more bad habits like snorting cocaine into their lives.  Some of them have never left the state, let alone the county, and have never held a job.  What else were they right about?

 

Sleeping was nearly impossible.  I was used to getting less than six hours per night for the past four years, but when I got out it was as if I could never sleep for more than four at a time if I was lucky.  I could work four days in a row of 12 on 12 off shifts only sleeping three hours after work and on my days off still could not force myself to pass out for a full eight hours.  When I could fall off, it would be so deeply that my room mates could not wake me by shaking the bed and I would wake up freaked out but never knowing why.  Instead of seeking help, I self-medicated with sleeping pills to help me rest but then needed caffeine to keep wake me back up.  My back was bothering the shit out of me but I wanted no part of the VA so I kept a shitload of Excedrin and Ibuprofen around to minimize the migraines, which also kept me awake but unable to do much.

 

The insomnia and depression caught up with their friends anxiety and agoraphobia and had themselves a goddamned field day one night while I was at work.  I had been stressed out over some disputes between my room mates and was exhausted and dehydrated from working a week of 12 and 12’s in a 110+ degree factory and the utility workers they kept sending me were worthless, forcing me to do my own job and theirs all night.  After eight hours of working non-stop pushing 1/2 ton boxes around and running blazing hot machines without a break while trying my best not to think about how worthless of a human being I had become for leaving my brothers behind and being incapable of even settling immature arguments between room mates and being so goddamned sad all the time, my brain started to shut down.  I had just grabbed my thousandth cone-cup of water from the Culligan bottle next to my machine and took a sip, then a black spot and I’m kneeling in front of the machine after running the shutdown sequence, then another black spot and the machine is shut down and I’m trying to find someone but there is no one around, then yet another black spot and I’m wobbling towards the lunch room and finally see another employee.  He nodded as I made eye contact and I tried to say something but could not speak.  My mind was so cloudy I couldn’t even think of what words to say to this stranger, so I put my shaking hand up I was trying to tell him he shouldn’t be going any further.  He stopped and looked at me a little side ways and asked me what was up, but I couldn’t even grasp a word from the cloud to convey what was wrong and couldn’t remember what gesture to use, so I shook my head “no” and opened and closed my mouth a few times to show him I was attempting to speak but had lost the ability.  A few moments of confused, wordless posture changes and shuffling later, I was able to pluck the word “nurse” out of the air in the form of a mono-syllabic inquiry.  He gestured for me to follow him so I nodded vehemently in the positive as he led me towards the cafeteria.  Water was drank while I waited for whatever was going to happen to happen, and a while later my supervisor walked in looking very serious but not angry.  I managed to point to my temple and push out “I don’t…the, talk” and shaking my head in a nervous panic.  I could barely feel my hands and my chest felt like it was being crushed between two skyscrapers.  I could not catch my breath, my lungs only took short, shallow, shaky breaths.  My heart rate could be felt in every part of my body including my eyeballs, I could almost see it and I felt like my blood had been infused with static electricity.  I could not shake the feeling that I should either sprint out the door and never stop running or destroy everything and everyone around me.  I felt like an animal that had been backed into a corner and was fearing for its life, yet I was in an extremely safe environment and in no danger whatsoever.  Someone called an ambulance, and I was escorted outside by two EMT’s.  Once we were out front and I saw the ambulance’s flashing lights, I had to face away from it because it was freaking me out hard.  My supervisor wanted me to stay there and chill out in the lounge until the end of my shift, but I couldn’t even understand what he was saying, all I could do was shrug my shoulders and shiver uncontrollably with unexplainable tears rolling down my cheeks.  Words would not come out of my mouth, no matter how hard I concentrated.  Nothing.

 

The feeling of “holy fuck shit is so out of control right now even my speech doesn’t work what the fuck is happening everyone is staring at you they all know what do they know it doesn’t matter they know you’re probably dying one of them is going to hurt you don’t trust any of them dude just run just fucking run and never ever ever fucking stop” was, at best, terrifying.

 

The EMT’s were very cool about it all.  They seemed to understand that I couldn’t express anything and was in an intense fight or flight mode, and were careful not to handle me until they were sure that I understood they were required to strap me in the ambulance because they could not allow me to drive home or stay at work because I could put others or myself in danger.  One of them was a sailor or a coastie, I can’t remember clearly, and recognized my stupid moto tat, and he made sure they took damn good care of me and tried to calm me down by telling me I was going to be okay, he’d seen it before and I was going to be alright.  It did help quite a bit.  They drove me to the ER, strapped me to a bed, gave me a couple shots and an IV, then left me to pass out until later on the next day.

 

When I woke up there was a doctor in the room and I was confused and couldn’t immediately recall how or why I was in a hospital.  My speech had partially returned, at least enough to inquire as to exactly what in the fuck I was doing there.  She informed me that I had been brought in early that morning highly distressed and unable to communicate, although no one knew exactly why so they put me down and kept an eye on me.  A few moments of hazily explaining what I could remember later, she stops writing, looks up at me and says, “it sounds like you might have had an extremely bad anxiety attack.”

 

Next time:  Old Habits Die Hard

On To Bigger, Better Things: The Struggle Begins

Like many a soon-to-be-separating Devil Dogs, in the early winter of 2005 I was all too ready to shed my green, amphibian skin and horrible indentured servitude.  The transition assistance classes required by the Corps for all separating Marines were thorough enough, and I had a coverletter/resume/thanksbiatchletter combination that looked pretty damned professional.  My final physical was cleared, noting my exposure to CS and asbestos, a fucked up knee, and some hearing loss.  My terminal leave was approved and worked out so that I could pick up my walking papers at 0830 on my motherfucking birthday.  It was the most content I had been in…well, years.  The sad part about that sentence is the fact that I had to use the word “content” because I was normally in a state mentally in which I hated almost every second of my life.  At the time, I never realized how goddamned awful it was to fully accept being treated like a stupid, useless child, and for no reason other than it had been pounded into my brain for the past few years that it was acceptable to treat people that way because if they were “below” you, they deserved it.

 

My transition was not a smooth one.  I was so eager to get away from the terrible people at my local USMC Rape Dungeon that I failed to realize how unhealthy my state of mind had become and and why it became that way.

 

Truth be told, I was fairly moto for my first year and a half.  I was that dumb ass boot wearing Oorah gear and rocking the horse shoe.  Boot camp, MCT, and MOS school took up most of that year, and being surrounded by a constant stream of other boots and ridiculously motivated SNCO’s did not help that at all.  It was a while after I got to Okinawa that I realized the Marine Corps wasn’t nearly as awesome as it was made out to be.  A month of cold showers and six months of opening my door with an ID/credit card (or stiff envelope for fuck’s sake) due to horribly negligent BEQ management,  watching my best friends and the hardest working Marines get harassed and put on duty for petty disagreements, and all of the other constant bullshit cured my motardity.  My NCO’s noticed this, but instead of asking why I was no longer sounding off as loudly or being motivated in general, they would fail me on field day, attempt to take credit for my work at the shop, short count my pullups at unofficial PFT’s, and look for reasons to either publicly chew me out or humiliate me.  I accepted it as “tough love” for a long time, but after a while it got really old and insulting, humiliating even.  Eventually I started thinking really stupid, shitty things about myself like, “damn, maybe they’re right, maybe I’m just a reject who really should kill himself.  I really am worth more dead than alive like he keeps saying.  I don’t think SGLI pays out for suicides and everyone would just hate me more because they’d have to go to a bunch of safety briefs and shit, better not, don’t want to be a buddy fucker.”  I would often have to listen to shit for my appallingly long 22-minute run time even though I always kept a 1st class PFT.  The stream of “you’re a piece of shit” type of insults was constant and endless towards my coworkers and myself by our superiors simply because we had different MOS’s; us being AAV mechanics and them being LAV mechanics who considered themselves grunts because the guys that drive the vehicle they work on have “03” in their MOS.  Public humiliation was their personal favorite, as well as discrete assaults to the abdomen, back, and thighs with fists, feet, and tools.  My section kept the highest turnover rate in the shop because we always stayed late, came in early, and missed chow to get it done.  This was mainly due to us hating our NCO’s so viciously that we would do anything to get away from them, even for an hour.  At times it felt like we were in the first half of the movie Sleepers, but with less rape.  We never got our “inmates obliterate guards during epic football game” though.  In the Marines, you almost never do.  It was bad enough that most of us would gladly volunteer for duty and working parties just to relax.  Eventually I just wanted to fade into the crowd or become invisible just so that I could do my job in peace without having to worry about what kind of random, pointless rectum-rapery was going to occur next.

 

Dealing with the bullshit day in and day out eventually began to take its toll on my mental state, and like many Marines before me, I attempted to solve my problems by numbing myself with alcohol.  It wasn’t difficult, booze is everywhere and it seemed like everyone was doing the exact same thing.  Alcoholism is so common in the Marine Corps that it is not treated as a sickness, it is looked at as just another part of being a Marine.  At the time, it didn’t seem so unhealthy because being a drunk meant always having friendly-ish people around and not feeling like an outcast.

 

Severe depression and alcoholism pretty much ran my life by the end of my first year on the Rock, although I had no idea how bad it really was getting.  Instead of becoming an aggressive dickbag, I slowly dropped all cares outside of work and focused on the job at hand because nothing else seemed to matter.  I ended up getting really good at my job, and our Gunny noticed this, eventually deciding to pull every string he could to get me accepted into an advanced MOS course near Pendleton.

 

While in California for that course, my drinking had all but stopped.  The school environment was strict on procedures but relaxed on bullshit formalities and they played zero games because the class consisted of a Staff Sergeant, two Sergeants, two Corporals, a Brazilian Lieutenant and Staff Sergeant, and my lowly, boot Lance Corporal ass.  I studied, PT’ed, and read every book I could get my hands on because I was isolated as the only non-rate student.  Some of those books changed the way I perceived the world around me and I ended up deciding to change my religion to one that mirrored my system of beliefs about man and life and that brought hope and motivation back into my life.  The school command did not care, and looked at it as a Marine expressing his religious freedom, and if it helped him stop drinking and get motivated, all the better.

 

Okinawa was different, with Warrant Officers, SNCO’s, NCO’s, and other non-rates randomly picking fights, but they almost always lost.  One of our less-enlightened officers decided to order me to disrobe in front of several other Marines so that he could see one of my tattoos.  Having your Platoon Commander force you to strip your upper half in an office full of people is a bit humiliating, especially if while doing this he is insulting you by telling you how worthless of a human being you are and how badly you are failing is Corps and how you are a disgrace to the uniform and do not deserve the title “Marine” because of your religion.  Events like that are what brought back everything I hated about life and demotivated me until I began drinking again, and much more heavily.  I could not stand the fact that regardless of how many positive changes I had made in myself, my superiors’ treatment of me worsened with every step.

 

They knew I had stopped drinking, so they put me on duty more often, telling me “its not like you have anything better to do, you don’t drink” until I started drinking again so they couldn’t use that excuse.  They knew I had graduated an advanced course for my MOS that non-rates do not get to attend, so they put me in charge of paperwork so that I could not do the job I had been trained to do and was still liable for anything that went wrong because I was the “Duty Expert.”  They found out I changed my religion so they began harassing me about it constantly, making disrespectful remarks and jokes, refusing to respect my beliefs, and telling me that it was “unauthorized” while filling out charge sheets that would ultimately be torn up and thrown out by someone with common sense.

 

I became disillusioned with everything motivating and began to see the world as a dark place full of awful people who were only out to hurt others.  Alcohol only fueled this further until I hated Marines, I hated life, and I wanted to be done with it all as soon as possible.  When my second year on Okinawa was up, I went to Twentynine Palms with a severe alcohol problem and a death wish.

 

The Stumps was different.  It was a combat unit and most of the guys had deployed at least once, so it was way more relaxed on the petty bullshit because everyone was concerned with getting work done and being left alone.  Being an all AAV unit also helped, as there was very little “my MOS is better’n yer MOS” rivalry/stupidity to get in the way.  The alcoholism, however, was much, much worse, with almost every night being full of drunken shenanigans both hilarious and tragic.  I kept to myself mostly; I only knew one guy and he was a Lance from my unit on Oki, but you know, fraternization.  That part about it being a combat unit with a bunch of guys that had deployed?  Yeah, that was kind of important if you weren’t paying attention.  Being a Corporal from an ultra-pog GSM shop was like…shit…let’s just say that a tiny part of me totally feels for Amos and Rodney Dangerfield.  Absolutely no respect.  Before I had finished checking in, they already had me a spot reserved as the Tool Room NCO because I had “no experience”…even though I had been through an AAV course only one of our SNCO’s had been to, and that was years before.  When the company left for Okinawa, I stood so much duty they should have given me a secondary MOS of 1369 Permanent DNCO (they didn’t).  Our Rear Party CO was a douche bag Lieutenant whose head was so far up his ass his shoulders were shit-stained and he overreacted to every incident by locking us down so tightly we had to log Marines in and out of the lounge and laundry rooms.  I stood barracks duty so often it interrupted my “social” life enough to actually force me to quit drinking because I never had eight hours between work or duty.  Yes, I could have sneakeded a few, but by that point I was so goddamned paranoid and nervous all the time that I assumed that I would be caught and fucked right down to Private on the spot.  I didn’t care about losing drinking buddies, by then all we had were boots and guys getting out, so nobody associated with each other.  Even our boots ended up hanging out with tanker boots and Comm school kiddies more than guys in their own unit.

 

When the Company returned, things loosened up but I had to deal with way more SNCO’s and NCO’s talking down to me because I decided to not reenlist.  Trying to explain to them, “I am a terrible Marine, the spot should be saved for someone better” was like trying to teach calculus to a Buick; it ain’t fuckin’ happenin’ son.  What is worse is that instead of listening to the reasoning of a Marine who is obviously depressed, they would angrily describe the horrible lives of anyone who was stupid enough to get out.  “Out in January, homeless in February, and wanting back in my Corps in March!”  My Platoon Commander was so insulted by my refusal to reenlist that he took a special interest in making my life hell.  After my final physical, instead of hitting the gym or being OFP, he wanted me to run with the unit, which I was cool with.  A month before my terminal leave date, my knee is swollen to the point where it was visible in cammies and I was getting sharp pains in my back, ribs and neck that came with migraines, and I was having trouble even walking to work.  Medical did an X-ray and couldn’t find anything broken, so the CWO assumed I was a malingerer and started berating me in formations, especially during PT when I would fall out of runs due to the pain of my right knee being twice the size of my left and headaches so intense I would puke.  Another trip to BAS revealed a bunch of inflamed tendons and a lack of cartilage, which was apparently what was causing that funny grinding noise whenever I bent my knees.  When migraines and numb spots in my back were mentioned, shit got real.  Medical records had to be found, final physicals had to be voided and re…um…physicalled.  This does not look good on a command, and of course it was explained to me by mine that it was all my fault because Marine Corps, rah?

 

I left the Corps with migraines, back pain, shitty knees and hips, and a desperate need for real medical attention for depression and anxiety.  It took me around seven years to think seriously about getting help because I was so sick I believed I didn’t deserve to be helped.  Like many others, I have ruined relationships with friends, family, and women by pushing everyone away when they tried to give me a hand, all due to sadistic Marines and their sick desire to humiliate someone under them for not conforming.

 

But I’m not bitter.

 

Next Time:  Assaulting the Civilian World

First Regretted Quitting, Now Glad More Than Ever!

When I first was introduced to the United States Marine Corps in 2010, it was due to some jackass popular football player in my class at the  end of junior year in high school. He was basically trying to get two referrals so can get contract PFC (when he graduated from boot he didn’t get it, thank god). At any rate you got a 16-year-old kid who is about a nerd in high school, doesn’t have the best luck with females, and barely passes most of his classes, and in poor physical shape. With the feeling that I wasn’t going to get far in college, why not talk to the recruiter? To the office I went, and boy. Did I take the bait like a hungry fish that hadn’t eaten for days!!

I was about as a hyped up motard as anyone can describe after that first interview with my recruiter. Being shown uniforms, oversea duty stations, “OMG the superman uniform Dress Blues?! I get to wear that?!!?” “I’ll get to finally be in shape and everyone is going to like me?!?!” hearing stories about how awesome being in Okinawa was, seeing the silent drill platoon photos. It wasn’t hard for the recruiter to nail another number like me in. After this I kept going to PT, getting motivated but the other recruiters that would lead PT with their BS pep talks about being a Marine and how awesome life and how much ladies would want me. I was already thinking and acting like I was going to be something above my friends. After all; what do they do? Go to parties, drink, and all going to college. I’m doing something soooo much better than everyone I know in my social life! This is so awesome I can’t wait!!
However, I was very afraid of bootcamp. I could not ask enough questions about it, “what if I don’t make it, what if I find it too hard? What’s gonna happen can I Fail?” My recruiter of course, kept reassuring me that I won’t fail and that I will make it- just keep going to PT!!
Funny thing now to add is that I had to take the ASVAB 3 times in order to finally qualify, THREE motherflipping times!! I passed on my 3rd, but the point I am trying to make here is if you’re “The Few, The Proud” why in the holy demon’s name do you need a kid who can barely pass the ASVAB?! You would think after second time my recruiter wouldn’t work with me anymore but NO! I was dumb enough to believe that he really wants what’s best for me and that he knows I will do great and be an asset to the Corps which is why he will continue to enlist me. This of course motivated me try harder and really want to be a Marine so badly, my recruiter likes me and wants to see me a successful Marine OORAH! I then continued my motarded self to purchase shirts that said Marines all over it, even telling people I will be the reason why they are able to sleep peacefully at night.
When it was finally time for me to go after I finished high school and shipped to Parris Island, I was already discovered by TD 3. I was always the last one to leave the squadbay, I lose gear all the time, I sucked at drill, and was too damn slow to get dressed!! I don’t think I ever got abused, but I got IT’d probably 9 times in a day every day. I was placed on trial training because I sucked at the obstacle course in addition to everything I mentioned earlier. Following the conclusion of trial training, I failed the MCMAP test (yes I know- who in their right mind fails the dumb MCMAP test?! ME.) so of course, I was recycled from TD 26 to TD 2.

Being recycled was the worst, worst time of my life. Dumping all your stupid gear out, and then showing it to the dumb DI who can’t seem to count how many socks you have, packing it all back up, just for another DI to count it again, dump it out at the BAS, then pack it up, just to DUMP it out again in your new platoon. I was in Golf Company, dropped into Delta Company, and man it was retarded. All my officers kept telling me “This is for you to better yourself; you’ll be ahead of all these other recruits blah blah blah”. Nope, it was more like the opposite; I kept getting singled out each day because I was a pickup, got water and detergent poured into my footlocker because I didn’t get on line fast enough, and everything they did was more of a culture shock to me. I used to be able to at least brush my teeth and breathe in Golf Co., but in Delta the DI would count down the seconds the entire time, every night.

It came neatly to the point, for example, during weapons maintenance (I hated every single second of doing this crap) one DI told me to get up, stop cleaning the weapon, and then go do something else. Of course after this, my rackmate would have to put my weapon back together, then secure to his lock. When this happened, I got ITd and chewed out the next day because I didn’t know how to secure my weapon, and it was at this point TD 35. During one IT session, the same DI stepped on my BCGs, and the next day chewed me out because I was wearing civilian glasses, and I should somehow figure out how to put the BCGs on my face. Now we were at the rifle range and somehow, I just have no idea how, but after I finished shooting there was a live round in my blouse. The caused me to be an integrity violator and in addition to being a “below average performance Recruit” my SDI attempted to get me recycled again.
At this point I had had it with bootcamp. Everything I could do was wrong, I was a pickup I should know this shit, blah blah blah, so when I was faced with my Co. Commander I told him to send me home. He then told me just get it together and you will graduate!! It’s only another week back! They are willing to train you. Nope, that’s it. I’m going home; I’m tired of packing up trash, and dumping it out again. The Co. Commander told me what a shame it was and then finally sent me to RSP. When I finally got back home, I was lost…

There was no welcome home from anyone, nor was there any “I missed you” none of the sort. Everyone I knew was disappointed, and I didn’t blame them. I had all this dumb bravado of being a MARINEE OORAH that people got sick of hearing and for me to not follow through is pathetic. These were my thoughts for about a year later all I did was work a dead-end job again and found little reasons to be successful, not much friends sticking around I was in a very unhappy back home. I decided that I wanted to try again for the military- now in much better physical shape and with more knowledge about the military.

Before this gets much longer than it already is; to sum it up, I enlisted into the Air Force Reserve, and it was unquestionably the best choice I have ever made! I graduated bootcamp as an honor graduate, and continue to enjoy serving as I have a civilian job I enjoy working, while going to school online. I was finally able to put the USMC behind me with no regrets, and when I happened to stop by this website I was so thankful that I didn’t make it! From what I read from various blogs here, the COC in the Corps is way up their ass! In the AF, or at least in my wing everyone in the COC has an open door policy! This goes from the 1st Sgt, to the Squadron Commander, up to the Wing Commander (should be stated that he is now a BGen yet still has an open door to all Airmen). The choice I made to join the USMC was a blind one but I’m glad it is over!

End The Epidemic

Suicide can be a very touchy subject because most of us have an intimate relationship with it in one form or another.  Whether it is because the thought of doing ourselves in has crossed our mind, we have talked a friend down from doing it, or have lost someone to it; the pain suicide causes has touched every one of us in one way or another.  There is help available to those in need, but unfortunately that assistance often becomes difficult to find or even ask for due to the negative stigma that goes with a strong warrior seeking the cure for this deadly sadness.  Unfortunately, there is no solid, succinct answer to the question “why?”

 

Many people believe that veteran suicides have much to do with deployments and combat action.  This is not true.*  Depression seems to be a noticeably prominent factor in many reported suicides.  That factor would undoubtedly have been reported in much higher numbers if seeking help was not looked upon as an act of weakness, cowardice, and malingering in the military community.  Marines are often afraid to ask to speak with a mental health specialist because they will be openly mocked for “going to see the Wizard.”  Mental illnesses are treated as a sign of weakness and those whom decide to gather the strength to admit they are having problems are all too often accused of malingering (pretending to be sick in order to get out of work/contract.)  Many young men and women also fear getting administratively separated due to their mental illness, believing that they would lose their honor by admitting they are no longer fit for duty.  These fears, among other factors, can lead to severe depression, increasing their likelihood of attempting suicide.

 

Depression among active and reserve military and veterans is a problem that has always been ignored, and it is time to address and resolve the issue.  Signs of depression can be found in a very high number of service members.  Young people are away from their friends and family, often for the first time, and are immersed in a culture that glorifies alcohol abuse and violence.  This in itself can be traumatic.  When someone is depressed, they are often told to “man up” or “suck it up because there are men dying right now that haven’t seen their families in months and never will again.”  Statements like that only make a young man feel worse because he will be depressed about being lonely in addition to feeling guilty for being selfish enough to think about his own problems.  The much-overused “someone else is at war right now so you have no right to complain” type of thinking needs to end, as it is detrimental to good order and discipline by reinforcing the image of an unsympathetic and oppressive chain of command.

 

The culture in the Marine Corps is one of violence and intolerance.  The “weak” are cast aside and treated as if they are garbage.  Legitimate injuries from training, including PT, go undiagnosed until they are nearly catastrophic and keep Marines from performing basic tasks due to them being afraid of their NCO’s and SNCO’s publicly humiliating them and punishing their “weakness” with extra duties.  When one of these injuries becomes acute enough for the Navy Corpsmen to treat, it has often caused permanent damage.  When a Marine breaks his ankle in training, he will be put on Light Duty and will usually perform basic, non-physical activities until he has healed enough to resume his normal duties, excluding PT and other physical tests.  Limited Duty follows until the ankle has healed, and they are restored to full duty.  The problem with this is that just because the bones have healed does not mean he is ready to run a PFT that will undoubtedly have a negative effect on his career.  Muscles and tendons need to recover and acclimate as well, and that recovery can take a long time.  Light and Limited Duty do not permit the intense physical activity that the Marine is accustomed to, and exposing them to that intense training can cause their condition to quickly deteriorate and cause further injuries such as foot, knee, and hip problems.  Being on Light or Limited Duty can be depressing because he can feel as if he is no longer a “good” Marine due to his physical limitations.  A command that is harassing, intimidating, and humiliating him only exacerbates his already fragile mental state, and worsens his feelings of inadequacy and worthlessness, sending him further down the spiral.

 

There is the belief that ending one’s career in the military will magically turn them into a “nasty, useless civilian puke.”  It could be safely assumed that the vast majority of Marines have experienced this within six months of their EAS.  This begins at boot camp, where a platoon full of teenagers are told that they are no longer “disgusting, worthless” civilians, they are Marine Recruits.  Drill Instructors promise to purge every atom of filthy civilian scum from their bodies, injection-molding them into a higher form of being.  After boot camp, they are no longer normal citizens, they are Marines.  One of those gals goes to MOS school and becomes Admin.  She knows that she is a POG (Person Other than Grunts) but remains proud and motivated.  For the next few years, she works hard and becomes a Corporal.  The Career Planner asks her if she wants to put in a reenlistment package and she declines, saying that she wants to go to school and start a business because she didn’t think the Corps was the place for her.  In the time it takes the Career Jammer to get to the Company Office and report back, she has become a shit bag.  Officers, SNCO’s, and NCO’s will talk down to her and attempt to bully her into reenlisting.  If she continues to resist, they will tell her that she never belonged in “their Corps” in the first place and that she is disgracing the title by not staying in.  Her EAS is in January and they tell her that she will be “out in January, homeless in February, and wanting back in my Corps in March.”  Marines in leadership positions explain to her that if she doesn’t sign another four years of her life away, she will become a filthy, diseased civilian piece of garbage, worth less than the excrement she is made of.  Once she is finally out, she begins to feel as if they were right as she is no longer part of something important, making her transition much more difficult and depressing.

 

Deployments are thought to have an impact on veteran suicides.  With around half these cases being members that never deployed, it can be safely assumed that this is incorrect.  Deployments do have effects on the mental health of service members, but not always in ways that are obvious.  Marine veterans that have not deployed to a combat zone may feel as if they have not lived up to the expectations of the nation they swore to protect.  While their brothers are in harm’s way, they are working a 9 to 5 job while getting regular chow and liberty.  When units are deployed, the personnel that are ordered to stay behind in garrison units usually have a highly increased workload and have less assets with which to complete.  While the work they are performing has intensified, they may feel that they are not pulling their weight simply by not being deployed with everyone else.  It is not that they are missing out on “all of the fun”, it is that they are missing out on doing something they feel is important and feel that it is due to their deficiencies, regardless of what they are told or how proficient they are at the work they perform.

 

The pursuit of perfection may be a factor for some Marines.  No matter the effort, it could have been better.  The obsession with perfect hindsight vision has become a burden to many Marines.  If someone can do 20 pull-ups, they will be heckled for not doing 22.  Their run time might be 16:45, but it would have been outstanding if they had really put out and beat it by thirty seconds.  Accomplishments that should be respected and admired are dismissed as hogwash by hateful SNCO’s and NCO’s, jealous of another Marine’s success.  The ridiculous one-upmanship and constant, pointless bickering among Marines is caused, in part, by the thick cloud of aggressive competitiveness that the Corps promotes with complete recklessness.  This pursuit puts Marines into the mindset that nothing they do will ever be good enough to properly honor the Marine Corps.  When that train of thought is followed, their self-worth can be diminished to nearly nothing, causing them to feel insignificant and unwanted.  This “nothing is ever good enough” feeling is present in a majority of people suffering from depression, regardless of military service.

 

Guilt may be a factor among some combat veterans.  Men and women who have been ordered to kill other humans often find themselves having trouble afterwords.  Some experience intense feelings of guilt for taking someone’s life, even though they were an enemy combatant trying to do the same.  Others may feel guilty for surviving unscathed when someone else died or was severely injured.  The phrase “it should have been me” can be heard in survivor support groups of every kind.  The grief associated with taking a life or witnessing such an event can be devastating to anyone, regardless of the amount of training they have received.

 

Members of the military are encouraged to look out for one another, especially when it comes to the mental health of their own.  They are taught how to recognize some of the symptoms of depression and PTSD, but are not trained how to properly deal with someone that is having these troubles.  Underage Marines who find themselves depressed and abusing alcohol have a very tough time getting assistance because they are afraid that their command will charge them with a crime, and their friends will cover up the problem to keep him out of trouble as well.  Instead of rewarding the strength it took him to admit he had a problem and ask for help, he might be punished with an NJP for underage drinking and then be treated as a shitbag for the rest of his enlistment.  Punishing Marines for admitting they are sick does no one any good, and keeps others from trying to fix their condition.  Marines suffering from PTSD sometimes have emotional outbursts that can be detrimental to their career if taken as insult or disrespect.  This is often explained away as “he’s having a bad day.  His girl just left him.  Won’t happen again, Sergeant.”  For Marines, losing one’s bearing in front of superiors has a negative emotional effect.  Ignoring, walking away from, or talking back to someone with a higher rank can have a more profound effect than screaming “FUCK YOU CUNT” to your grandmother at a family reunion.  Not only will they be berated and humiliated, there will be an element of ostracizing them as well, keeping others from helping him with his problems.

 

To help fix some of the problems with this epidemic, some measures need to be taken.  Mental health screenings at Military Entrance Processing Stations need to be more intensive, and include personality tests.  Background investigations, both medical and legal, need to be more thorough.  Too many members of our military have preexisting psychological and emotional issues that need to be addressed before sending them away to be trained as killers in a hostile environment.  Active and Reserve troops need to be trained how to recognize the symptoms of mental illnesses, specifically depression, PTSD, and bipolar disorder, and how to properly address the issue with the member to encourage them to speak with someone.  All members, regardless of rank, title, or status, should be required to pass at least one mental health examination each year.  Their personnel and medical records should be reviewed by the interviewing professional to provide a proper perspective on their abilities.  Substance abuse should be treated as an illness and not as the lack of discipline it is currently.  Encouraging each other to seek help when it is needed is important, and needs to be thoroughly reinforced by all.

 

* http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/07/military-suicide-study_n_3719850.html

* http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/foreign-affairs-defense/why-soldiers-keep-losing-to-suicide/

The Highest Form of Flattery

My favorite comedians were always the guys that could do really good impressions, not of celebrities but of their friend, family member, or stranger with an odd, distinguishing trait.  Whenever I was in trouble growing up, it was usually due to someone catching me mocking the shit out of them, as I have this tendency to forget how obnoxiously loud I can be.  In the Marine Corps, this…talent turned on me.

 

Cobra Gold was awesome, mostly.  A month of skating on Foster in the same barracks as my best friend, followed by a month of living in an old Thai garbage dump, three days of liberty in Pattaya, and another few weeks of skating.  The leadership was pretty relaxed, specifically the NCO’s and lower Staff.  Our First Sergeant was a very motivated man that gave many speeches.  I usually disliked motivated DI types, but this guy could get almost anyone excited about being a Marine.  He was, of course, a former Drill Instructor and spoke with a voice you could feel in your spine.  He also had a unique tempo and gave extra emphasis on certain words, as if some of his words were written in caps, bold, and italicized.  For example, “Hey, listen up Devil Dogs; when we get to Pattaya…” turned into “Heylistenupdevildogs when we get to PATTAYA…”  Take that pattern and apply it to Patrick Warburton’s (Joe from Family Guy) voice, and you have the First Sergeant.

 

There was one other guy from my parent unit that came with me TAD, Lcpl Olsen, and our job was to look busy.  The Sergeant that was our…sigh…boss was from a “real” Amtrac unit and was banned from coming within ten feet of the AAV’s for locking some keys in one of the vehicles…the keys to ALL the hatches to every vehicle, and that made us banned as well.  While he was stuffed into the company tent doing paperwork, we dug ditches for gray water, carried MRE’s, PM’ed Motor T stuff, and did every bit of bitch work possible.  Whilst performing these bullshit details, we would have nothing better to do than joke and complain, especially about the leadershit.  This quickly led to me imitating some of them.  Olsen thought my impression of the First Sergeant was pretty dead on, and and it would be hilarious to fuck with one of the Motor T guys somehow.

 

We crept into the maintenance tent and stood behind the HMMWV.  I gathered my balls and boomed, “Heylistenupdevildogs I need to see a Lance Corporal PORTER!

 

The sound of a wrench falling through and engine compartment gives way to a Lcpl Porter cautiously creeping around the corner of the vehicle at parade rest timidly answering, “…yes First Sergeant…?”

 

Olsen and I nearly choke on our own stupid laughter for a moment while Porter walked around looking for a senior SNCO ready to chew his ass sideways.  When he saw there was no one there but us, he could not believe it was me and that seemed to make it even funnier.  Our schoolgirl-like giggling attracted the attention of a Sgt from Motor T who insisted on knowing exactly what in the fuck was so goddamned amusing.  We begrudgingly told him about the joke and he laughed as well, insisting on hearing me say something in that voice.  After hearing it, giggled gleefully and told us to find something to do.

 

That night, right before lights out, most of us in the company were sitting outside smoking and joking.  A female Staff Sergeant walked up and started a conversation with the Motor T Sergeant from earlier, and he began talking about some Marine that sounded exactly like the First Sergeant earlier.  She didn’t laugh at all, and wanted to know who it was.  This caused me to immediately sweat another gallon of bullets.  He said he didn’t remember who it was, then she giggled and said it would be pretty funny to hear it.  Enter the Falcon.  “Oh, hey Devil, wasn’t it you?  Yeah, I think it was this guy! Ha, do it for Staff Sergeant real quick.”

 

Nervous as hell at the thought of this Staff NCO taking a joke the wrong way, I told them I didn’t think it would be appropriate to imitate him in front of everyone, so they walked me away from the smoke pit.  I belted out my idea of the First Sergeant telling Marines to stay away from the whores across the street.  I thought she was going to have a heart attack or was maybe crying because she was shaking so bad.  I thought it was rage and I was about to get the Knifehand Of Justice, until she let her laughter out like a painful yet much needed fart.  The three of us agreed that it was funny, but I should probably not do it in front of anyone that could take it the wrong way.  Then she left to go do SNCO things, I guess.

 

As it turns out, my lack of vocal volume control led to everyone in the smoke pit hearing my impression, or at least enough of it for them to believe the First Sergeant was seriously just a few yards away telling three Marines to stay away from whores.  I did not want to admit that it was me and told them that yes, he had in fact just told us to stay away from the whores, and the Sergeant backed me up.  Everyone believed it until Porter came outside, listened to what everyone was saying the First Sergeant just said, then pointed to me and told them it was probably me.  Olsen backed me up when I said that I couldn’t have possibly imitated such a man, as I sound more like Randal from Clerks than anything.  They had their suspicions, though.

 

After all the “training” was concluded, the companies all got together for a Good Job Not Killing Each Other This Time Ceremony.  Being Marines, this meant we all had to stand in formation for an hour before the little old man came out of his hole, giving us plenty of time to kill.  Staff NCO’s and Officers don’t like standing in formation, so they usually post an NCO until a few seconds before the ceremony begins.  Not this time.

 

The female Staff Sergeant was out front.  “Company Atten-shun!  Lance Corporal AAVPOG, front and center!”

 

I report and stand at the POA while she tells me that for the next few minutes, I am the Company First Sergeant and need to give the Safety Brief before we can go on Liberty.  Not understanding for a moment, she told me it would be okay and that I would not get in trouble.  She posts behind formation with the Staff and Officers, and I blindly assume the responsibility.

 

Putting the company at ease, I scan for a moment and see the First Sergeant poke his head up, shoot me a shit-eating grin, and nod “yes.”

I had heard many a safety brief in my time, and in that moment decided that if I had to give one under those circumstances, I was going to own it and make it MY safety brief.  What follows is not word-for-word, but is pretty close:

 

“Alrightlistenupdevildogs when we get to PATTAYA, youmayruninto some ‘Ladies of the Evening‘.  You’ve been outrunningaround TRAINING in this former GARBAGE DUMP, and you are probably DISGUSTING.  You’regoingtowantto take a nice cold SHOWER before you go out in TOWN.  If the showers are DOWN, you’regonnawanttogetan MRE SPOON and scrape all that nasty gray CROTCH ROT off your grundle.  That’s your TAINT ifyoudidn’tknow.  If you drink, don’t drive.  If you drive, don’t drink.  Thatdoesn’treallymatter since you can do NEITHER here, butIhavetosayitanywaysdevildogsoorah?  Gentlemen, this is THAILAND, you’regonnawantto wrap it up.  LADIES, I don’t think you’ll wanttohookupwith one of these little guys, but if YOU DO, wrapitupoorah?  Goodtogo!”

 

This went on for several minutes until I had had enough and ended it with, “okay that’s it, I’m out,” fully expecting a SNCO to appear and give me the signal to hand the reins of power back.  Instead, I was told by random Marines to imitate others.  The problem with this was that only one other person in the company had a personality that I thought was worth imitating, and he was a very large Sergeant whom spoke as if he watched Scarface about 1,000 too many times, so I declined.  Of course, declining did not keep them from insisting, loudly, that it would behoove me to do it.

 

I have an intense hatred for that phrase; it would behoove you.  The intense heat, 9999% humidity, and my anxiety combined their powers,  forcing me to say fuck it, whatever.  I looked over  at Olsen and asked, “Gunny Fern?”  I have yet to see a bigger smile.

 

Gunny Fern was our boss on Okinawa.  He had a very heavy Tagalog accent because he was Filipino.  A very heavy accent.  Gunny Fern was the boss and he made sure you fucking knew it at all times, mostly by Devil Dogging whilst Knife Handing.

 

Someone asked who Gunny Fern was, so I explained, “What da puck Debil Dog?  You don’t know Gunny?  What, you ASVAB waiver, huh Debil?  Dat’s the prolam with you Marines; all queshin no asser!  Fix your chit Debil Dog or I haver ass!  Da puck you laff at, Debil?  Gunny funny?  Fix yaself Debil nuts!”

 

Officers and SNCO’s appeared to be amused by this as all I saw were teeth behind formation.  It was right about then that I realized there were people laughing behind me as well.  I turned far enough around to see every other company staring at us as if we had all lost our goddamned minds. Their peanut galleries peeked around their formations giggling like children.  Finally, the Company Gunny gave me nod which I interpreted as “put them at attention and stand by” so I did just that.  We did the here-now-you’re-in-charge shuffle and I took my place back in the Non-NCO section of the formation, sweating profusely and ready to be done with this shit already.

 

After the ceremony we were all walking back when the CO, Capt Tears, jogged up and pulled me aside between two of the maintenance tents.  He told me that they all seemed to think my impression of the First Sergeant was “pretty good” and that they were wondering if I could imitate anyone else.  I tried to explain to him that I couldn’t imitate just anyone in general, they had to have a personality quirk, speech pattern, voice, or vocabulary that stuck out significantly in my mind.  He understood that, but still wanted me to do an impression of him.  I had several problems with that.

 

First off, I cannot stand people who insist upon an impromptu performance.  Especially when the insisting is the result of vanity.  When you go to an art gallery and see a collection of beautiful nudes, you don’t insist on the artist sketching your naked body on the spot do you?  No, it would be quite rude.

Second, it is almost never a good idea to imitate someone directly to their face.  All jokes aside, some people get extremely upset when they hear another person openly mock them within punching distance.  Maybe they stutter a little, maybe it’s a slight lisp, it could even be a word like “Strategery” “Dumbassity” or a misunderstood word (I met a Sgt Maj that used the word “magnanimous” wrong…and constantly.)  My point being, folks don’t like being called out on their flaws.

 

Third, I had only heard him speak maybe a handful of times, and that was including when he pulled me aside just then.  He addressed the troops a few times, but only once was I around when it happened, and that instance happened to be when he started crying -literally- about how proud he was of all of us (thus, Captain Tears).

 

Lastly, he didn’t have any significant vocal or personality traits that struck me as anything but fully professional at all times.  He was one of those guys that seemed to disappear in a crowd, an everyman type.  He didn’t throw bass in his words, mince about like a hippie picking flowers, swear like a madman, or act like a weirdo of any kind, and that made him extremely difficult to imitate.

 

Sure, I could have pushed out a few tears and told him how proud I was of him, but that probably would have seemed insulting, and would have looked very awkward to everyone walking by; seeing a Lcpl crying and telling an officer how proud of him he was, all while at parade rest.

 

Damn, I totally should have done that.

 

He did eventually give up and began talking to me about something or another.  I don’t remember now, so it must have been unimportant.  Probably something like “that’s funny and all but watch it, Blue Falcons are everywhere” but, you know, in Officerese or whatever professional language they speak.

 

The First Sergeant never did strangle me to death like I imagined he would.  He did get me back, though.  I was waiting in line for the post Cobra Gold Let’s-go-ahead-and-make-sure-you-know-we-don’t-trust-your-ass piss test and he walked up behind, leaned in close, and asked, “heythereMarinehowwas PATTAYA?” then walked off laughing hysterically as I jumped and came dangerously close to filling my trousers with my test answers.

The Life of a Marine Corps Recruiter Part 6

“What’s up warriors you can lead a horse to water and you can make it drink. If you work it hard enough.” Great speech SgtMaj did you think of that all by yourself or after you got done pressing your track suit out and wonder why it melts. I think to myself hearing that please god don’t let me say stuff that stupid ever. How is that suppose to motivate me or make me understand training any better? It just makes me wonder how stupid you really might be and what you think about with no Marines around you. Then your closing comments you give at the end of training holy shit. Because of days like today I want to stick my face in a deep fryer. Wait I can’t because then I wouldn’t be able to write my contract and would have to go to zero training to be told I suck at life. Oh wait again I was already told that this month. Screw it I’ll just be defiant and sarcastic maybe I’ll work on my NASA resume or Political campaign.

Submitted by:  2807aListofLies

The Life of a Marine Corps Recruiter Part 5

So it’s been a bit but I had a CFT this last week and during this I thought to myself how does being able to lift a 30 pound ammo can over my head 90 some plus times make me combat effective? The only thing I saw from it was being able to make ones self more effective for a working party. During my times on a deployments’s I have never handed an ammo can 90 plus times to a gunner. Never on a range have I ever had to do that let alone had a whole ammo can to lift maybe 50 rounds from that can is about it. For that matter I don’t remember the last time I did 20 pull ups in combat environment either unless pting. I guess what I feel the Corps needs to is maybe make physical standards more up the ally of what we do like be able to hike with a pack in certain amount of time. Then also maybe some mental test like breaking down a 50 cal and putting it back together. Don’t get me wrong i think physical fitness is important, but I see good Marines who can’t do a lot of pull ups or run well either. That happen to be very fundamentally sound when it comes to knowledge of weapons and can hike 60 miles with a 130 pounds on his back. But yep still a shit bag to the command, but knows more about the stuff that matters then his shit bag NCO’s snorting no explode off each others abbs. He’ll get out though go to college and do great things, and those NCO’s will still make those new young Marines dumber and dumber, because that shit bag isn’t around to show them any more. Best part of recruiting talking to an applicant when the SgtMaj calls to yell at you and putting him on speaker so the kid gets a real taste of it. Stay peachy time to go eat my free Apple Bees meal happy Veterans Day guys.

Submitted by:  2807aListofLies

The Life of a Marine Corps Recruiter Part 4

You know what every kid has in common I come across on recruiting duty? They all play COD and can’t do any pull ups. I hurt a kids feelings because he hangs from the bar makes an attempt to do what resembled pulling himself up, but with out result. Then drops off and shakes his arms out. “REALLY” you kidding me? You had to shake your arms out for doing nothing. But it’s not just one kid it’s multiple kids doing none and then me being the deep thinker I am think where did the muscle go. How come kids just get weaker and weaker every year. Well it’s because a failed education system, most schools will graduate a kid just for the government money they receive. So again what we do teach them is hard work is not required to make it in life. Instead these kids come out with this idea that somebody will take care of them and help them get by. The sad thing is they’re right and that’s when I came to my conclusion that we do teach kids something how to fail, and that if they don’t want to work the system will take care of them. I kid you not these kids know all the ends and outs of government aid. How could this be though wait a minute? Could it be the parents? I remember this really cool thing I use to hear called the” American Dream” kind of like that dream with 4 models at one time now never gonna happen. Sorry to get so political on this one gents just can’t believe how the education system is failing not just the kids but this nation, and therefore you. The future can be bright though I know I will be volunteering more at my local high school for tutoring and mentor ship programs. Not as a Marine but as a person who just wants to help give a little hope back to a failed system, got to keep a glass half full right.

Submitted by:  2807aListofLies

The Life of a Marine Corps Recruiter Part 3

So today I had sector training it’s kind of like getting taught how to be more dynamic at recruiting once a month. By a bunch of Master Sgts that think they could sell Nazi stuff to a Jewish guy. When it comes down to it though they couldn’t sell cup cakes to a fat kid. Well my SgtMaj comes to his chance to talk and of course we get told we lack leadership and that we need to tighten up and get back to the basics. How NCO’s these days are weak and can’t lead and all and all as everyone knows we have ruined the Marine Corps. Well I wanted to ask the question who ruined us but didn’t not for fear, but for the fact that would in some magic allow him the ability to point me out as the problem. Then I would get a what the fuck and that I suck which is usually like a broken record anymore so I didn’t. Still though who ruined us is my question and what I figured out in about 3 seconds after all this leadership started, was they did. They’re the ones that let those precious standards diminish and be tarnished. Now I am a no nonsense person and believe in The Corps if it’s ran the right way is a good organization. Right now though its like Tijuana though full of lawless dicks who only take care of those who suck there dick and stds guys who stick to the system but do nothing to help it get better but make other people infected so they don’t care.

Submitted by:  2807aListofLies

The Life of a Marine Corps Recruiter Part 2

Another day on the prowl and one step closer to seeing some more problems with the Marine Corps. Today at the Recruiting Station Headquarters I witness a young man do not 20 pull-ups not 18 pull-ups, but zero pull-ups. Well according to the MCEOB (big book your recruiter showed you with pretty tags) you have to do 2 to be allowed to DEP in. Well this young man still gets to dep and gets a ship date within a three months from now so how did we teach him anything considered Marine Corps Values??? First we taught him that we don’t hold people to a standard or accountable to be prepared. Then I’m guessing his run time is going to be fast paced 22:30 mile and a half. Oh but he’s only 9 mins off from passing so he will be good in 3 months to head for the Island. Because he is so determined and moto about being a Marine cause then he gonna have all the ladies. Yeah right he is just going to play Xbox in a barracks room instead of his moms basement. Then fall out of runs and do no pull ups while the 2nd award PFC who got busted down for underage drinking in the barracks still gets called a piece of shit, and should be a meretourious corporal. He had such shitty NCO’s though that none of them did the right thing when he was drunk and slapped the duty for even trying to log it in the green book of wrong. Then grab the young Marine toss him in his room and pt the shit out of him in the morning. Then explain the right and wrong times to do things. Well time to go find a young man or lady and tell the Marine Corps Story again.

Submitted by:  2807aListofLies

Personality Disorder (Everybody Lies)

Anyone who has had to deal with people between the ages of 17 and 24 on a daily basis knows that the youth of our nation, especially the males, can be accurately described as dishonest.  There are honest young men and women, but the task of identifying them is difficult to say the least.  Many young men will exaggerate or distort their own backgrounds in order to enhance their persona and create an image of themselves that is much tougher and more masculine than in reality.  This phenomenon can be observed anywhere young males gather, but is especially prevalent and obvious on or near military bases.

Boots fresh from, well, boot camp, spend their ten to thirty days back at home where they amaze friends, poolees, and family with tales of all the outstanding training they completed and the awesome friends they just made and how great their life is about to be.  What once were only rumors between recruits become facts as uncles and veterans buy them drinks and homeboys hand them 40’s.  What used to be “this kid mouthed off and the DI’s took him into the Duty Hut and he came back fine” becomes “yeah this one kid disrespected our Senior so they took him into the head and whupped his ass.  Then we gave him a blanket party that night like in Full Metal Jacket.”  This kind of exaggeration is only the beginning.

There are many Marines in the Corps, and their backgrounds and personalities, however full of shit they may be, are diverse.

The Cowboy:  He grew up “on a farm” which could mean anything from actually being raised on a ranch in Wyoming to growing up in Chicago.  Some of these Marines will say they are from rural communities but will know not one thing about agriculture or livestock.  They are easily recognized by the gigantic wad of tobacco in their mouth and their ridiculous attire:  Shitkickers, skin-tight Nut-Wranglers (complete with dip can ass circle), pearl snap button shirt (plaid or Native American design), fifty-gallon hat, and somewhere between three to seven pounds worth of motivation as a belt buckle (they will say it came from a silversmith and totally not that place right off base that sells ones that look amazingly similar).  The Cowboy will speak in a stereotypical “southern” accent and will most likely be heard loudly expelling racist and sexist jokes or telling fabricated tales based on violence towards animals, minorities, and women.
Cowboy’s Lie about:  Everything.  Don’t trust a word out of their dip-filled word hole.

The Gangster:  This reject will claim to be in a street gang (or recently out of one) but will have no tattoos, friends, pictures, or any other evidence.  Gangster Marines came from “the hood” which can be almost anywhere, including rural Idaho.  They are often seen wearing eccentric jewelry and…whatever the rappers are wearing these days, really.  This leads to them being heckled and sent home to change into proper attire, and can be very amusing for those in observance.  Marines falling into this category rarely listen to anything that is not considered rap, hip-hop, soul, or R&B, and will openly mock any other musician whom they believe would be physically inferior to (insert rapper’s name here).  The accents differ slightly, but often rely upon African American and Latino stereotypes (using the expletives “nigga” “ese” and “homes”).  The Gangster Marine will openly flaunt a false relationship with a known gang while also associating with a Gangster Marine from a rival street gang, often proving the background story of both to be false.
Gangster’s Lie about:  They did every kind of training possible and always had a snappy comeback.

The True Motivator:  The bane of every normal Marine’s existence.  The True Motivator does not care for trivial things like “logic” “intelligence” or “efficiency,” they only concern themselves with OORAH.  To them, the Corps is an infallible deity that provides them with everything they want and need.  So proud they are of being a part of the organization, they refer to it as if it were their possession.  True Motivators refuse to leave their bed without at least one EGA or USMC showing at all times.  All shirts require motivational symbols or phrases (preferably both), and will be tucked in regardless of T-Shirt status.  The more barbaric the practice, the more the True Motivator will enjoy ripping apart its dismissal with neanderthalesque logic.  Things such as physical beatings, IT, and horse shoes are apparently what made the Marine Corps so great in the past, in their eyes.  This type of individual will defend the Corps’ deficiencies with tired excuses and misinformed lies with his last breath.
True Motivators Lie about:  The Corps.  Everything about the Corps that is fucked up, they will try to twist and explain as an asset.

The Blue Falcon:  Falcons can be difficult to spot, as they are everywhere and take many forms.  The obvious Blue Falcon can be seen quietly attempting to blend in with a group while attempting to secure valuable information for his superiors.  The Blue Falcon wants you to believe he is “just one of the guys.”  Sometimes you may hear one asking where the big, underage booze festival will be this weekend.  Sometimes he may blend in well enough to find his way there and witness Marines misbehaving, all the while noting names and offenses.  Falcons appear to be stellar Marines to their superiors while acting like complete scumbags to everyone else.  Discerning observers can spot a Falcon by their proper civilian attire, fake smile, and evil intentions.  Boots be wary.
Blue Falcons Lie about:  How they got promoted.

That Fuckin’ Guy:  He wakes up every morning and is already a fucking mess.  He can eat, sleep, and breath relatively well if nothing is distracting him (I was going to list the things this guy can’t do right, but it would be faster to list what he can do).  Your Senior Lance Corporals will yell at you for even being around him because he is a magnet for shit-storms.  This fuckin’ guy will bum cigarettes and dip off of anyone dumb enough to let him leech, even on payday.  He is the one that fell through the cracks.  He is the reason Drill Instructors hate Recruiters.  If they knew how goddamned awful he turned out, his Senior and Heavy would cry themselves to sleep every night in shame at what they have allowed to enter their beloved Corps, and probably begin plotting his recruiter’s doom.  That Fuckin’ Guy can be seen in cammies or PT gear…probably in a working party, his room or in the lounge, as he is on permanent restriction from back-to-back NJP’s, failing field day, and generally being a shitty excuse for a Marine.  He has not and will not adapt to military life, and there is no amount of hazing that can help it.  He will inevitably become the “Company Pet” that requires supervision whilst eating, working, sleeping, and shitting probably.
That Fuckin’ Guy Lies about:  Tells everyone back home he is an awesome Marine and everyone loves him.

The False Motivator:  Sarcasm is their business, and business is…fucking infinite.  You want them to wear little green panties to run in?  Ok, but theirs are two sizes too small, so now you have to see hairy, pasty, pale legs AND bouncing man-junk.  Those dicks drawn all over everything?  These guys.  Some douche bag captain complained because the running cadence was absolutely filthy and demotivating?  These guys.  Their vocabulary consists of inside jokes, often trading traditionally accepted phrases for “fuck you.”  Example: — “Tuck that shirt in, Devil Dog!” — “Rah, gunny” or “Kill!”  False Motivators can often be found cursing their own existence and awaiting their EAS so they don’t have to do this shit anymore.
False Motivators Lie about:  How motivated we…ah fuck my life, I’m getting drunk.

The Commissioned Fool:  Some people, even the college educated, are just stupid.  The Commissioned Fool will have no clue what is going on at any given time.  He/she will be ditzy and probably adorable in some way, much like an inbred kitten, but otherwise basically useless.  As dumb as they may be, they will receive more awards than you and be treated way better, mostly because of that education.  Okay, solely based upon that education.  Keep in mind that college does not make a person smart.
Commissioned Fools Lie about:  However the fuck their absurdly stupid ass made it through college and OCS.

Murtaugh:  The Marine Corps prefers her victi…ahem, recruits to be on the younger end of the spectrum.  A Murtaugh is a Marine whom enlisted later in life than most, normally older than 24.  Murtaughs can be observed rarely because they are ghosts and make excellent skaters.  They see how the inefficiencies of micromanagement negatively affect mission accomplishment and troop welfare and sigh in exasperation as they are, in fact, too old for this shit.
Murtaughs Lie about:  Nothing, they are too old for that shit.

IT Guy:  Some Marines enter the Corps with a working knowledge of computers.  This guy will inevitably become the interim IT Guy for everyone and will normally pretend to either not know how to fix your problem because you are a dick or demand booze as payment for services rendered on your virus-filled-porn-box.  You may or may not ever see him outside of work because he is so over this Marine shit like omfg.  Much gay.  So moto.
IT Guys Lie about:  Your laptop took 12 minutes to fix, the rest of the week was spent rifling through your porn and laughing hysterically at the pathetic love letters you send your cheating ass girlfriend.  Ha, pwned.

Foreign Dude:  These guys come from all over.  They may be a part of your MOS school class or they may be US Marines that haven’t received their citizenship yet.  You will learn a lot about their culture and homeland, but the first thing they will probably teach you is how to curse in their native tongue.  Hands-on observers are encouraged to watch the Foreign Dude get uncomfortable when you ask him what the age of consent is in their country.
Foreign Dudes Lie about:  He didn’t teach you how to tell those girls they are pretty.  You just told them you have an elf pecker.

Many of the fibs these guys tell are pretty harmless.  However, some of them decide to take it a bit too far.  There is a code among military men and women that goes something like; If you don’t rate it, don’t wear it.  Much like falsely claiming to be in a street gang, lying about your military history to the wrong people can lead you into a big fat ass beating.  There are a few ways to gauge how full of shit an individual may be, but they aren’t fool-proof.  Bragging is a huge red flag.  I have yet to meet a Marine that was actually proud of killing another human being.  Plenty have defended their action as necessary to prevent their friends from dying, but not one so much as cracked a smile while talking about it.  If a guy is bragging about how awesome his career was and all the places he has been, chances are he is full of shit.  Keep in mind that almost anything out of a drunken fool’s mouth will be bullshit in the first place, and will be exaggerated bullshit with the addition of said alcohol.

 

Submitted by: “AAVPOG”

GI Bill Predators Part 2

For me it all started when I graduated college and I was looking into starting a new career. I heard on the local news that the University of Phoenix was sponsoring “Hire A Hero” career event. I was excited because I thought to myself that this is a great thing that all of the employers are doing for vets! I live in Phoenix, Arizona, and generally the community is very supportive of veterans, but what I did not know was it was all just smoke and mirrors. Anyways, I was filled with a new kindred spirit and was ready to show corporate America what I was made of.  So I put three-piece suit on and got to my car to attend the event. I was greeted at the door by some military rep’s that worked for the college and was asked to sign into the event. It was crowded.  I was in shock to see just how many unemployed vets there were.  Most were just left active duty out and the others were older and looking for work.  After signing in we were all lead to the third floor of the campus to the booths of employers that were ready to hire veterans.  This was then I realized I was looking at a sham. It was disgraceful to see cooperate America offering highly skilled vets a chance to work for them for 12 dollars an hire sweeping floors. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not too good for that, I am just saying I didn’t work my ass off for four years studying to get a college education to be offered some job I could have received right out of high school. There were legitimate employers there but not enough of them.  And of course there were the “motards” there from each branch of service there wanting to see if there were any of us that desperate to join the reserves. It was laughable to see so many people crowded around their booths! Moving forward to the next room I see a sight I have never seen. I witnessed booth after booth that was set up to scam vets. These are the for-profit education programs that you see on television and online.  At first I thought this was a joke. I mean all I heard all week is that there would be legitimate employers looking to hire veterans, and I all I see are some snake oil salesmen looking to shack me and other vets down for cash. Unfortunately I saw a bunch of veterans around these booths talking to them and I could not understand why?
Don’t they know what they are getting into? I guess Barnum and Baily were right: “There is a sucker born every minute in America”.   What is the Moral of this story?
I will tell you.  You are in charge of what you want to make out of your life. Civilians who never served a damn day in the service don’t know what our skill sets are. They have no idea how smart we are. They don’t care.  Don’t settle for less unless you have to. If you worked hard to achieve your dreams don’t fall victim to assholes that are going to low ball you! These skills to survive in the “Corporate” Gang Bang have to be learned. Now back to the topic…. For- profit universities are everywhere and their main targets are veterans and other service members and their loved ones.  For those wanting to know the truth about what they do and how they operate stay tuned… I will be giving all the details to each and everyone of you so you can make a decision that is going to have an effect on your new career change.  Stay tuned for part 3!

GI Bill Predators Part 1

Like most of you, I am a veteran that did my time and lived to tell about it.  I was with a unit with bad leadership and due to that I decided the Marine Corps was not something I wanted to do for a career.  After a long period of moving around to dead end job after dead end job, I decided to throw caution to the wind and earn my college education.  It was always my dream to accomplish this. Like many of you, I had many questions concerning educational benefits and how to use them.  I was fortunate to go to Arizona State University. The staff was very helpful and aided me in my pursuit of my own personal educational goals. Like many of you, I was unable to purse education on active duty because of “mission essential” bullshit.  That was then and this now…. These for-profit universities prey on unsuspecting service members both active duty, reserve and prior service. I am speaking on experience because I used to work for one of these companies and I can tell you that they are all run the same.  I was a recruiter for South University, which is a part of Education Management Corporation.  I can tell you that no one who works for these companies cares about your education; all they care about is the “Bottom Line.” Let me break they down barney style: they don’t give a good fuck about you or your education, all they care about is enrolling you in class and getting you on the hook for your benefits.  In the next couple of days I am going to be sharing a few stories with all of you concerning for profit schools and other “Veteran Friendly” scams that I have seen with my own two eyes. I want to alert as many of you as possible about what goes on to veterans in these situations, and what you can do to avoid being scammed. Don’t read into the hype about these schools being voted as “veteran friendly”. The only friendly thing they do is smile while they are fucking you out of the benefits that you worked so hard to earn.

Submitted by: thewittyone

The License Scam

Of the many opportunities available to military personnel, the authorization to operate multiple tons of sexy, deadly combat vehicles often appears to be a good selling point for recruiters.  Pictures and videos showing Marines performing awesome feats of high-precision military excellence in millions of dollars’ worth of ground equipment are showered upon young prospects and poolees, convincing them that they will soon get the chance to do donuts in their LAV while shooting bad guys and blowing up enemy tanks before hitting a sweet ramp and crashing through the front door of (contemporary evil dictator)’s fortified compound and delivering a case of good old American Whoop Ass right in his evil, terrorist face.  That is not quite how it works.  Most Marines never get to drive an HMMWV.

 

To operate a vehicle owned by the Marine Corps, the driver will need a license.  There is a license for every vehicle and there are multiple stamps or qualifications needed for the various configurations of the same equipment.  For example:  AAV Repairmen (2141) earn a Shop license for the three basic models of the AAV (P7, C7, R7).  The Shop license permits them to operate the vehicles within the confines of the maintenance areas only.  AAV Crewmen (1833) earn a Road license that permits them to operate the vehicle in every other condition (roadways, beaches, combat, etc.)  Tank and LAV operators/repairmen are similar,  separating their licenses by MOS.  For Motor Transport and Heavy Equipment MOS’s, there are several licenses that the operators and mechanics must receive, as their jobs are more versatile and often require them to be competent at operating (for Motor T) HMMWV’s, 7-tons, LVS’s, and (for H.E.) Bulldozers, cranes, and forklifts.  There are Shop and Road licenses for these as well.  While overseas, additional licenses or certifications may be required to operate vehicles on foreign roadways.  Marines from an MOS that does not work with these vehicles on a daily basis can get a license to operate, but they must first gain their command’s approval, which can be easy depending on their command’s need for operators, or it’s heinous ulterior motives.

 

What was the first piece of advice given to young people by older veterans?  Never volunteer for anything, right?  Regardless of the opinion on their current mental state, that is the most useful advice anyone can give you in regards to daily life in the United States Marine Corps.  That advice should especially be taken into account when one mistakenly believes that a license could improve their professional image and importance to their current chain of command.

 

I was one of those Marines dumb enough to forget such sage-like advice.

 

A month into my first year on Okinawa I noticed that some of the Lcpls seemed to never stand barracks duty.  Our battalion had a policy of allowing Marines with an HMMWV road license to be exempt from frequent Barracks Duty in exchange for the hardship of monthly Driver Duty and the possibility of being called upon to randomly serve as Duty Driver if someone fell (deathly) ill.  After standing Barracks Duty with a good number of shithead NCO’s until I was deemed “worthy” of a license (read: was promoted to Lcpl) I was allowed the opportunity to get that golden ticket to the skating rink.

 

One of our Sergeants and a couple of other Lcpls were getting their licenses, too.  Normally, this would be an awful ordeal due to three Lances having to put up with some dickhead NCO.  Luckily for us this particular NCO was Sgt. Skate.  He was close to his EAS and gave absolutely zero fucks under certain conditions.  Those conditions being; away from staff, officers, and motards.

 

The first week was all on Foster, which meant we had to take the first Green Line to get there and had to miss PT.  Short classes with plenty of breaks because the instructors didn’t want to be there any more than we did, like most classes in the Fleet that are outside of your parent unit.  Lunches were 1100-1300.  Some times the classes would get out around 1500 and we would be done for the day.  Field day?  Sorry Corporal, Sgt. Skate is coming through to inspect at 2000 because we have to be up for PT formation at 0530 with the company then catch the Green Line at 0700 and we are required to get a minimum of eight hours of sleep or we can’t get drive and get our licenses and that would make our unit look bad wouldn’t it, Corporal?  The second week was extra sweet because all we had to do was get up, check out a vehicle, then drive it around all day.  On base the first three days, off base the last two.

 

Not having driven anything for almost a year wasn’t the difficult part.  Adapting to driving on the other side of the road whilst avoiding suicidal civilians that lose their minds at the sight of any military vehicle was.  Few things in this world are more entertaining than the look on an unsuspecting Japanese businessman’s face as over 5,000 pounds of ugly, cheap, lowest-bidder garbage comes screeching to a halt within inches of his panicked, guilt-stricken, red-light-running teeth.

 

The privilege of being Duty Driver had its perks:  I spent way less days on duty and none on barracks duty.  It usually meant getting off work at 1100 to hang out at the Battalion building and run the admin guys to IPAC or wherever they felt like skating.  It meant 8 hours of “guaranteed, uninterrupted” sleep the night before (bahaha…yeah, I’ll get to that).  For once it was a chance to not have to walk everywhere like a bloody savage.  It was also a great learning experience.  “Supervising” the Marines on restriction that were cleaning the building usually consisted of leaning against a wall and earning my J.D. in Barracks Law.  Sometimes the OOD or SDO would be a raging motard and would insist that their Duty Lcpl and driver either clean, do MCI’s, or read something on the Commandant’s Reading List.  I would usually insist on practicing MCMAP with the A-Duty, but this only worked once.  Most of the time however, the OOD or SDO was just as bored and pissed at having to stand duty as everyone and they’d let us watch movies or sleep until he was ready to rack out.

 

The best SNCO’s to drive for were the ones who remembered being a young Marine.  They did their tours of the barracks by trusting the Duty NCO’s report and leaving instead of insisting on inspecting every lounge, hallway, and unlocked room.  They did what all men do when they are bored, they talked.  They reminisced about their days as a young idiot on Okinawa and how they got away with what they got away with.  They spilled the beans on why some staff and officers will never be promoted, and why others will.  Best of all, they would listen.  Not all, but some.  A fifteen year Staff Sergeant whom obviously has felt the ripping force of the Corps’ horned phallus tends to call “bullshit” when he sees it.  That new Platoon Sergeant abusing his authority?  Don’t worry, devil dog, he’s got this shit.  Your paperwork got “misplaced” in your company office somewhere?  Its cool, he’s got a couple buddies at IPAC (calls one on the spot).  Even if they aren’t in your CoC, they can fix problems.

 

Driving an HMMWV wasn’t all rainbows and sunshine.  It had it’s drawbacks.  That “8 hours of sleep” thing?  It was more of a suggestion.  Hearing an NCO hiss “I don’t give a fuck if you have duty, you’re not sleeping til I say your room is clean.  I’ll be back at 01” was very common.  Four hours of sleep is definitely not the same as eight, and being exhausted on duty just plain sucks.  Being the battalion Duty Driver wasn’t the only responsibility, however.

 

Having the off-base stamp on my license made me into a transportation asset to my command, and they exploited the shit out of that fact, especially when it came to training.  Our well-intentioned SNCO’s decided that Marines from my section were in need of some proper MOS training on AAV’s instead of just rebuilding the engines and transmissions all day, so they would schedule a Friday here and there for us to go up to another camp and work on their Amtracs.  This meant going to Motor T by 0430 to check out a vehicle and be at PT formation at 0530, then loading up everyone but the two Cpls and one Sgt that are LAV mechanics and no not one goddamned thing about AAV’s but insist upon making us wait until they can convince the Platoon Sergeant that five non-NCO’s cannot be trusted, then driving through heavy traffic slower than every other car on the road for a couple of hours while ignoring the wrong directions being screamed at my by Cpl Literallycannotreadaroadmap.  The training usually consisted of looking busy with the other mechanics while the LAV NCO’s walked around and did the exact same thing.  The drives back were usually peaceful because everyone would be asleep or too tired to give a shit about what anyone had to say.  This quiet, exhausted state sometimes led to me almost nodding off, which could have been extremely dangerous and has been known to happen to many Marines.  Nothing was learned and no amount of training was accomplished by anyone.  Not on purpose, at least.

 

I learned how to fix HMMWV’s by accident.  Let us not forget that as awesome as these vehicles may appear, they are only as effective as their maintainers allow them to be.  Let us also not forget that the people who maintain said vehicles are United States Marines.  On one trip up north, I had a fully loaded soft-back and was on the main highway when someone taps me on the shoulder and yells, “HEY I THINK YOU JUST LOST A BOLT.”  Confused, I keep driving and pay closer attention to see if I could feel any vibration, thumping, grinding, or other sign of possible failure, but heard and felt nothing.  A couple of OHSHITs later and another tap on my shoulder, accompanied by a car flying past me on the right, confirmed that my vehicle  was, in fact, dropping bolts onto the highway and bouncing them towards traffic.  I pull over, unload everyone, and set up the plastic “move over asshole there is a wreck or something up there” cones (the furthest of which was promptly destroyed by a speeding civilian the second I stepped away), and begin inspecting the HMMWV’s underside.  Two bolts were holding the differential cover on.  Two.  This was in 2004 when cell phones were popular but not everyone had one.  Not everyone meaning, in this instance, none of us.  We ended up stripping that truck for the better part of an hour before finding a couple of loose bolts that looked good enough to work for now, then duct-taped around them until they fit and pounded them into place, securing them with more duct tape.  Did it hold?

 

We got to a gas station just in time for the last bit of gear oil to drain out, and would later find out that three people reported us for going inside in uniform.  When we eventually arrived at the camp we were supposed to be going to, their Motor T laughed it off as if it were normal.  They couldn’t trade us vehicles, but they did manage to scrounge up enough replacement bolts to secure the cover.  I had to make the seal.  It wasn’t the fist time I would have to produce a field expedient replacement part.

 

I was once ordered to drive a boot from Kinser to Hansen to retrieve his issued gear from the barracks of the MEU detachment he had just returned from.  We were at a red light, about to pass one of the Kadena Air Base gates, when the passenger side of the windshield turned a light yellowish-green color and a thick cloud of sweet heat obscured everything in view.  My first thought:  Aliens.  It wasn’t aliens.  The coolant hose had burst and was diarrhea farting steam and antifreeze everywhere.  On our vehicle, on the ground, and on the cars around me.  Thinking it best to get off the road, I turned toward the Air Base and approached the guards.  It went something like this:

 

Air Force Guard:  What’s up?

Me:  Sup.  Where’s your Motor T?

AFG:  (bewildered expression)

Me:  (Fuck) I’m leaking antifreeze, where do you keep your hummers and trucks?

AFG:  Oh.  Um.  Let me grab…hold on.

-Second AFG appears-

AFG2:  Uh, what’s going on?

Me:  This vehicle is broken.  I need to get to where you keep your vehicles so that I can fix it and continue my mission.

AFG2:  Oh.  Uh, let me call someone real quick.

Me:  Wait, I have-

AFG2:  I’ll be right back.

Me:  …fuck.

-Several minutes and levels of pissed later-

AFG1:  I don’t think they can help.  Sorry.

Me:  Whatever, can I at least use the phone in the security hut to call my command and explain the situation?

AFG1:  Ah, well, um, ah, you see, uh, we’re not allowed to let anyone use the phone.  It’s for official guard stuff only.

Me:  Are you fucking serious?  Like, seriously, are you fucking with me right now?

AFG1:  Nah, sorry man.

Me:  This is official business, though.  We are on our way to Hansen to transport important equipment.  I need to use your phone to call my command so that they can send another vehicle for us.

AFG1:  No, Gate Guard business.  If it doesn’t have anything to do with us, we can’t let you use the phone.

Me:  Could you call my command and tell them what is going on then?  You are a gate guard, and I am at your gate seeking assistance.

AFG1:  (looks at other guard in air-conditioned booth)  No I don’t think we can do that.  It’s not an emergency.

Me:  A broken down vehicle IS an emergency.

AFG1:  Ok.  I have to go.

Me:  …

Dealing with those dickheads took so long the vehicle was almost cooled down enough to work on, so we started looting every crack and crevice for something that we could use to repair the split coolant tube.  There was a small tool kit in a plastic box, but there was nothing inside of use.  The duct tape holding that kit shut turned out to be the only thing we could find that might work, but it was old and mostly dried out and definitely would not work on its own.  I had a bunch of zip ties for…um…some reason…and decided to test my hypothesis that if I tightened them down enough around the edges of the tape-wrap, it would be watertight.  There was no way to test this without filling the reservoir first, but alas, there was no hose to be found.  This problem was solved by filling my camel-bak in the security booth’s bathroom sink then carefully pouring it in.  Many times.  All while these two Air Force douche bags sat in their air-conditioned booth giggling like school girls and refusing to help a brother out.

 

Fuck it, it worked.  We got to Hansen in the late afternoon, grabbed his gear, called our command and bitched about how utterly useless the Air Force is and how goddamned awful our Motor T was, then ran to Taco Bell.  I figured the least I could do for this poor guy having to go through that shit on his first day back was buy him a burrito.  The trip back took longer than expected.  Much longer.

 

I’ll be completely honest here and admit that I fucked up.  It was my responsibility to triple-check the map to make sure my A-Driver didn’t give me wrong directions, and I fucked up.  Literally, right from the start.  I turned left out of Hansen instead of right.  The countryside looked quite different going back, but we didn’t realize why until we got to Schwab.  Realizing how far gone we were, I pulled a U turn and headed back.  Maybe it was dusk settling, maybe it was exhaustion.  Hell, it was probably lack of attention to detail.  It doesn’t matter, we missed the turn.  Okinawa has a major highway that goes all the way around the island, 58.  English is everywhere on Okinawa, but not so much on street signs.  It is easy to stay on 58, though, as numbers are universal.  We followed 58 all the way around the bottom of the island and ended up stuck in traffic for over an hour twice.  We pulled into our battalion Motor T at around 1955ish.  The sergeant on duty was extremely pissed, but eventually calmed down enough to read the notes his staff left him about the Air Force guys being dicks and his piece of shit humvee being released while having maintenance issues and gave us no further trouble.

 

That license did not make me more important to my unit, it made me yet another checked box on a clipboard and allowed them to take an awesome training opportunity and turn it into a big old bag of shredded taints.

Okinawa Prison (Part 9)

The infamous “Motard.”

The following was borrowed from the internet site Urban Dictionary-

Motard
A alteration of the USMC term Moto. This word is used to describe some overbearing marine who is extremely loud and obnoxious all the time. He is so motivated even in the shittiest situations that everyone wants to kick him in the teeth.

Motards yell all the time, wear clothes with USMC logos all over them, have a ridiculous amount of USMC tattoos, and use the word oorah!excessively. They also like to call cadence while they walk around when not marching a platoon. A motard is usually some private or private first class who hasn’t even been deployed.
Marine 1: “It is 0500 on a Monday morning, it is raining, it is fucking freezing, and we have been standing in formation for 45min. Can it get any worse?”

Marine 2: “Oh my god, that motard over there won’t shut the fuck up!”

Motard: “OORAH MARINES! I FUCKING LOVE PT AT 0500 IN THE MORNING! BY THE WAY I GOT ANOTHER moto TATTOO LAST NIGHT! OORAH!”

Yut yut! Oorah! Kill! Semper! Uhrrrr! Good to go! Tun Tavern! 1775! Do these words bring somewhat of a bad memory to you? Those words became part of a certain language that belonged to certain group of people. These kind of people had the same traits: stupid, motivated, pointed with their knife edge hand, had a high and tight, was usually from the mid west, had very little education, was all about criticizing uniforms, paid attention to stupid things, had no life. When I spent four years of my life unhappily in the Marine Corps I hated many things about it. But if I had to choose in a wide spectrum of choices things that I did not like with the USMC it would be too many; therefore I will not list them because I would write incessantly. If I had to choose one thing and one thing only that I hated in the Corps it would be the infamous “Motard.”

The motard was the epitome of how dumb the corps could make a human being. To me the motard is a loser usually from the mid west. This person grew up with nothing in his life. He did not play any sports, he did not travel, he did not hook up with beautiful women from around the world. He probably grew up in a farm town of about 250 population. The most this person would have to look forward to is a barn yard dance, a rodeo, or a tractor derby. This motard lived in his farm town his whole life and as a result has a very narrow aspect of life. He reserves no room for change and does not believe in the saying “different strokes for different folks.” Fast forward a couple of years, send this redneck to boot camp, give him a high and tight, give him something in his sad life to be proud of and now you have given birth to a motard.

To the motard the Marine Corps is everything. This motard had NOTHING in his life before and now he has “something.” This motard thinks that the USMC pays excellent because it is the most money he ever made in his life and now makes the decision that he is going to stay in for 20 years. Now this motard wants to prove that he is bad ass. He really wants to get promoted by being tough because he cannot do it intellectually. So what does the motard do? He starts doing dirty bitch shit like snitching on his fellow Marines that do things like underage drink, have women in the barracks, or even the ones that are dating junior ranks. This motard thinks that by snitching and correcting Marines on stupid shit will get him promoted.

I personally got out of the suck because of motards. I just could not stand them. They were so stupid. You have a nice state like CA were people are educated and professional and you have these idiots from farming towns across the nation coming over with their stupid proper civilian attires, high and tights, moto tattoos everywhere, their cars with excessive amounts of USMC stickers and they go out in town fucking everything up because they think that they are entitled because they went to boot camp or were deployed. I was embarrassed by motards because that was the image that civilians had on Marines. If a girl found out I was a Marine “and I tried very hard to hide it with my low reg and 5 o’clock shadow” she would automatically think things like “oh, you’re a devil dog? You must be stupid and just looking to fuck something. I’m not talking to you.” And on the other hand if I went to coast highway to get a hair cut vendors would approach me trying to sell me their shit thinking I was a stupid motard stupid enough to buy their stupid shit. I never wanted to be a civilian so bad.

Me and motards did not get along at all. Especially motards that go off the drill field or were going to the drill field. I remember one day I got a low reg haircut in Camp Pendleton. It was okay in Camp Pendleton as nobody said anything about it. Not even SgtMaj’s or Colonels. One time I remember I was driving down I-5 in San Diego CA to visit some family members down south and I had to stop at MCRD San Diego to get gas as it was the cheapest gas station there. I went to the gas station and this fucking old man with a mohawk, not even a high and tight, but a fucking mohawk was eye fucking me like I just had sex with his wife in his bed. I went to go put gas in my car and I could feel his stare burning through me. The motard said “who are you?!” I didn’t pay attention. “You in the blue shirt, who are you?!” I still did not turn around. “HEY IM TALKING TO YOU DEVIL DOG!” I turned slowly and said “You talking to me?” The motard then said “YES YOU NUM NUTS, I NEED TO TALK TO YOU DEVIL” I responded with “Oh, my name is not devil sir, my name is free_bird” he then proceeded to walk up and down looking at me and said “You have a shitty haircut devil dog!” I responded by saying “I just got it today sir” He then said “who you with!?” I said “Camp Pendleton” he then did the stupid DI look and screamed “OK smart ass, what unit you with!?” I gave him a fake unit and fake name and the motard proceeded by telling me “you stay right here Marine, I need to take down your name, rank, unit etc.” As the motard went to his truck to get a pen and paper I finished fueling my car and got in it and drove off. Simple as that.

I hate motards and I will always hate them. They are stupid and idiotic and perfect to be used as a tool for the government. The motard has no life as he never had one. He never learned anything in school and never had aspirations to do anything with his life. He never wanted to see the world or to travel. He never bothered to improve his English linguistic skills, never expanded his vernacular or even used proper syntax that educated people use. He always spoke with a southern country or Midwestern redneck accent and thought that if your were Mexican, black or Asian you were not American enough. To the motard his farm town was everything. He married his fat ass Midwestern girlfriend and now they live on base while the motard is at the shop screaming at Marines for having chipped chevrons his fat ugly redneck wife is at the commissary wearing some offensively revealing clothes that do not fit her and she is in the middle of the ice cream section screaming at her baby and not moving out of the way. This ladies and gentleman is 80% of the people that stay in the Marine Corps. The motards.

Stay tuned for part 10.

Okinawa Prison (Part 8)

What duty is it? CAMP SEVICES WHOOP WHOOP!!!!!

After I wrote part 7 of my series I gave a little insight about “motivation.” Now this time I was “motivated” to get the fuck out of my unit and go to camp services. I was a recently busted down private and I was sent to go to gate 1 camp services building. I went to camp services and what I saw blew my mind. In my group there was Major Ferguson who was in charge of us and was never at the office. The XO was LT. Taylor who was a cool ass LT that was always playing basketball with junior Marines. Our SNCO’s were SSGT. Barreto who was as laid back as you could imagine and SSGT. King who really did not give a shit about Marine Corps bullshit and she was always doing something with her kids. We had two NCO’s CPL. Monk who was a drunk and a partier but minded his own business. There was CPL. Ing who was actually from China and barely understood English. Now there were four other LCPL’s, one PFC and I was the only PVT. I arrived at this new duty station expecting to get fucked with. I came in and I was a ghost. Nobody paid me any attention. I got to meet the Major and he was a very nice christian guy that did not believe in slavery. I met the LT and started talking to him about the Lakers and the Celtics and he gave me a big insight about basketball, he even invited me to play one day. SSGT. Barreto had a sense of humor and when I cracked some jokes he laughed very hard. Now I saw the NCO’s were on the same level as the junior Marines as the junior Marines would not even refer to them by their rank. Only by name. My jaw dropped at how lax this unit was. I could not believe my mind. After I was introduced to the group I was dismissed on Friday at 1300! I could not believe it. I was dismissed early while my father unit was ordered to fielday and later run a boots, utes, flak run with 7-ton tow chains carried atop of the shoulders of squads of Marines. I saw that shit from far away and decided to go hang out at another Marines barracks just to avoid any flak.

I went out in town early as I did not sign the green duty book in the barracks and went out in town with out a libo buddy. I was a lot more comfortable that way as I went to Kokusai street in Naha and drank at an all Japanese bar with no motards in sight. I was in bliss. The following Monday my company was forming it up to form it up outside the barracks in the rain at 0445. I was still asleep. My roommates thought I was smoking crack because I was not getting ready but I told them that I belonged to another command and that I was TAD. Soon CPL. Briggs and CPL. Lovehandles came barging in my room and before they started to scream bloody murder I did a ninja roll off my rack, I somersaulted to my wall locker and whipped out my beautiful crisp TAD orders that I had in a waterproof plastic container and I exposed it to the two NCO’s faces just like someone would expose a cross to a couple of vampires. They quickly gasped and put their hands up to cover their faces and walked backwards and out they went. Later CPL. Briggs came back real friendly and told me that SGT. Nazi wanted to see me when they came back from PT so that I could clean a common area with the other Marines. I said “aye aye” and went back to sleep for another hour and a half while they went off to their 6 mile run. Guess what!? I slept in my cammies and only had my boots off and when I heard from a distance “ ALO RITA LAYO!!!!!! LEFTY RITA LO RIIIITE!!!!! LOOOOO RIIII LAYO!!!! WE LOVE TO DOUBLE TIME!!!!!! MMMMM YEAH, MMMMM GOOOOD!!!!!!!! MARINE CORPS!!!!!!!” I got awakened rudely and heard the foot steps from far away. I heard my company just like the Jews heard the Nazis marching in to Poland from far away with the Stuka planes and Panzer tanks. I literally felt the ground shake as my company was forming it up out side to do a cool down stretch. I jump out of my rack, put on my boots, took my cover in one had, my TAD orders in the other hand and I escaped out the fire emergency hatch that were at the sides of the barracks and I ran down the stairs and away from the enemy just like Rambo did in the movies.

Now let me tell you how great the chow hall is when nobody is there and you are the first one. I got the first dibs on pancakes, lucky charms, peaches, pears, nice hot omelets and I got to drink my favorite juice as it was fresh and in stock. I was eating all by myself in my favorite seat watching my favorite news channel with out fear of being late to company formation. I had to be at my new TAD unit at 0800 and not another minute early. I was eating my breakfast at 0700 and I made it out by 0730 while my father company was still cleaning the barracks for morning clean up. I caught the green line bus and made it to my new unit at 0750. Fully rested, fully fed, and I had time to get a cup of coffee. When I arrived I was even in more shock as nobody was there. I thought that I was at the wrong building and started freaking out and asked one of the Marines at the building if I was at the right one. He said yes and at the same time the Colonel from that building (not Col. Maximus) came in and I stood at attention and he said “carry on Marine” with a grin, shook my hand and patted me on the back. I was at the camp services office when I saw the PFC and LCPL’s roll in at 0810. TEN MINUTES LATE!!!!!!!! I thought that shit never happened in the Latrine Corpse but it did. For the first time I saw Marines come in late and not get killed for it. Later the CPL’s came in at 0820 all hung over with no desire to correct anybody but their own hangover. At 0840 the SNCO’s came in and just went to their desks to read their emails and did not even say a word. At 0900 LT. Taylor came in his basketball PT gear and went straight to his office to change over and talk on the phone. And who knows where the Major was. He was unseen. I was flabbergasted at how skate this unit was as everyone was just sitting down on couches smoking and joking.

Finally at 0930 the SNOC’s told us to look busy and gave us some 55 gallon trash bags and told us to go pick up trash around the beach line. Now let me tell you, Camp Kinser was extremely clean and there was hardly any trash at all. We all jumped in the little trash truck and drove to the beach. Then we were all walking by the beach just bullshitting, smoking and joking and laughing with no motard NCO in sight. It was bliss as it seemed like a vacation. What came next was surprise. We were off to chow at 1100 when the chow hall opened! And back to work at 1300! Two full hours of chow time and even some nap time. I was so happy to be in camp services and when we came back the office was empty and CPL. Monk told us to leave early at 1600! I was in total amazement and I thought to myself “I can get use to this!”

Stay tuned for part 9

Okinawa Prison (Part 7)

The truth about “Motivation.”

Let me give you a scenario. Say that you had a transport company that transported packages from CA to NY. You drive for hours on end non stop until you reach NY and then come back to CA. It takes two days to get to NY and two days to get back to CA. Driving four days straight on a truck will bring a toll to it. Now lets say that you had a green truck and a red truck. You really don’t want to waste your engine and tires etc. Now a rational thinker that is smart would alternate the trucks. One trip use the green truck and the next week use the red truck. That would save a lot of wear and tear for both trucks and your business would be lucrative. Now let’s look at how this business would be operated by the USMC way of doing things. The USMC would drive the red truck first and keep driving it. It sees how the red truck does a good job and decides to pile every king of job and work on it. It would drive that red truck to the fucking ground until it disintegrates and falls apart. The USMC would then junk that red truck and then commence to do the same thing to the green truck until it falls apart and it does not function anymore. The USMC will just junk the trucks and keep newer trucks shipping in and the cycle goes on and on etc.

That was the way I saw how the USMC treated it’s own Marines. When the higher ups would see a good Marine that had a good work ethic the higher ups would hold that Marine hostage and not let him take leave or go on libo or anything. If that Marine was good and he had a government license guess what? The higher ups will trap that Marine and have him do countless extra duties either in the barracks or at battalion. Meanwhile you have a “shit bag” Marine. This Marine does not do his work and does not like to PT. He is always late, his uniforms are shit and he has to get constantly reminded to shave, shower etc. The higher ups see this and say “we don’t want this shit bag, send him somewhere else. Give him a TAD or something, we don’t want him.” So then this “shit bag” gets assigned a cool duty like chow hall duty, camp guard, or armory duty. This “shit bag” works from 0730 to 1630 Monday through Friday with full chow time and weekends. This “shit bag” gets a cool duty where you just show up to work, do your job, then go home. Later when this Marine’s duty is complete he goes back to his unit and gets sent to another cool training like jungle warfare, mountain warfare, terrorism training, camp guard, or the range. Any of these cool training programs are way better than the unit as they do not know you and do not hold any grudges against you. Every time you go to a different training unit it’s a fresh start and you can get to know your higher ups on a personal level and vice versa. This causes your higher ups to respect you as a person rather than hold grudges for the mistakes you did in the past and you get to do a good job all over again. Pretty soon you have rapport with these new leaders and they motivate (not motardate) you to do your job as a professional.

Meanwhile the “shit hot” Marine that had aspirations to be a Sgt Maj like his dad or be a General one day, ran a 300 PFT, did all his MCI’s, shot expert on the rifle range, had a crisp clean uniform, always shaved, always got a haircut, respected his NCO’s, stood at parade rest whenever spoken two, was respectful to his fellow Marines, did not get drunk, PT’d on his own all the time, is kept hostage by the higher ups. This “shit hot” Marine is not allowed to go anywhere because his unit needs him. This “shit hot” Marine is constantly getting shit by the higher ups and is constantly getting endless duties for days on end. Pretty soon this Marine starts to get tired as any normal human being would. This Marine starts to see how the “shit bag” Marines never get duty because they were not forced to get a government license. Soon this Marine starts to get angry at why he gets more workload than the other Marines that do not give a shit. Soon this Marine starts to get angry at his superiors and request for some time off, leave, liberty or some other kind of duty. The superiors get angry and tell this “shit hot” Marine that he is not going anywhere. This “shit hot” Marine eventually loses his temper and fights back and argues with his higher ups. The higher ups see this and make it their mission to work this Marine to death and pile endless duties to this Marine for personal reasons rather than professional ones. Fast forward a year or two and this “shit hot” Marine is still a Lcpl with no NJP’s and never gets promoted because somewhere in the high office someone denies this Marine’s promotion. This Marine starts to see how his “shit bag” peers that didn’t give a fuck start to get promoted, and some of these “shit bag” Marines are fat and even had an NJP. Now lets look at the “shit bag” Marine that was TAD to the armory or to camp guard. He eventually gets promoted and eventually gets in charge. This “shit bag” Marine did it with very little effort. All the “shit bag” Marine had to do was show up to work and be able to pass his PFT and be able to shoot on the range. Throw in a couple of MCI’s (to which he already had the answers to courtesy of the cool NCO’s he befriended) and this “shit hot” Marine is bound to get promoted.

So you have a “Chesty Puller” Marine that is always working harder than the average Marine because he does a good job all the time. This Marine soon looses all aspirations to get promoted or to stay in because he just had enough of the bull shit. Meanwhile the “shit bag” Marine gets orders to a new unit as an NCO where nobody knows his past. He gets along with his junior Marines and even gets promoted to SGT because he stayed out of trouble. This Marine then hooks up with a money hungry babe out in town and gets married. Now this “shit bag” Marine gets to live off base, gets paid for being married and even gets his honey pregnant and gets more money for the kid. Soon this “shit bag” Marine sees how good he has it and guess what? He re enlists and makes a cool career out his military service with very little effort and is now in charge of other Marines.

Now lets look at the “shit hot” Lcpl that is now considered a “shit bag” because he hates the USMC. This former “shit hot” Marine gets tired of the bullshit, says “fuck the Marine Corps, I’m done” and gets out and never looks back. Wasted and burned out. Never wanting to talk about his military service ever again. This goes on and on all over the Marine Corps. Good Marines getting out and shitty Marines staying in. I quickly saw how the USMC treated it’s own and opted to be the “shit bag.”

I opted to be the “shit bag” because it was a lot easier. It was working smarter and not harder. Now don’t get me wrong, I did my job professionally but I did not give a shit about “espirit de corps.” I still ran my first class PFT and shot expert and did all my MCI’s but I would not do “extra” for no fucking reason at all. Especially not for the USMC. I learned the game and quickly adapted to the dark side. I became wise and saw through all the bullshit that the USMC would give it’s own people. To the eyes of the motards I was a “shit bag.” But through my own eyes I was just surviving and looking out for my best interest. I had to look out for myself as nobody else would. Nobody else would get me promoted or get me removed from a shitty unit other than myself. I would see how airmen in the Air Force loved their job and always extended in Okinawa. I would interview these airmen on gate 2 street in Kadena and they all showed me how they worked and executed their missions. They would go to work, work hard, go home and play hard and get rewarded for their effort. Marines just worked hard, worked hard, worked hard and then would go home to get fucked hard with no Vaseline. I quickly saw how the good got punished and the bad got rewarded. I quickly learned the saying “don’t volunteer for shit in the Marine Corps” and this was very true. I never volunteered for shit. If I was ordered to do something I would do my job and that was it, nothing more, nothing less and guess what? I got less and less duties and was ordered to do cool trainings in Okinawa. Even though I had one NJP I got promoted to E-4 and when I got out I was four points from Sergeant. The USMC begged me to stay in, offered me E-5, a duty station of my choice and $25,000. I still said “fuck no” to the career planner and told him that I would rather live under a bridge than to spend another minute in the suck.

Stay tuned for part 8 and I will tell you how Camp Guard saved me and my rank while my unit was constantly getting fucked with.

Okinawa Prison (Part 6)

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 😉

Conscientious Objection

Good & evil

This is a topic I am sure most people have never heard of before.  Conscientious (Con-she-en-shus) Objection is when a person’s beliefs and morals will not allow their participation in war.

I am a Conscientious Objector.  I am opposed to war.  A book that I highly recommend reading is linked to on the home page of this website called, “War is a Racket”.  It is written by Major General Smedley Butler USMC.

For further information you can visit the GI Rights Hotline and The Center on Conscience and War I found the Center through the GI Rights Hotline.

Many Marines view this as a cowardly stance to have and it is often viewed in a negative light.  To understand it is an entirely different mindset.  You have to break free of the indoctrination this current generation is dealt on a daily basis.

I am like every other man, I love action movies.  I love seeing the explosions, guns, and violence, but I have learned a significant fact.  It is a fictional portrayal where no actual human being, no brother or sister in Christ, no soul is killed.  You may say, “Well no duh, that’s common sense!”

But, I ask you, is it really?  Do you take into consideration why you are fighting whomever you are sent to fight?  Do you consider the irreparable damage you would do or have to do to those people mentally, emotionally, physically?  I mean to real people, like you, me, your brother, sister, mom, and dad.

Let’s take a moment to turn the tables and use our imagination.  Imagine if Russia set up camp in Washington State.  They are tired of the US and its imperialistic behavior and come to suppress the military activity closest to its land.  So now they are kicking in doors, patrolling, and placing checkpoints everywhere.  They take firearms, arrest people everywhere, then torture and kidnap people they claim are terrorists who are fighting back.

How would these American fighters be viewed from America’s perspectives?  They would be patriots.  They would be heroes.  They would be the rallying cry of everyone tired of the Russian’s oppression on American land!

What is really different between that situation and the Middle East?

Now mind you, this is a mindset to bring you away from the “idea” of glory and warfare.  You have to bring yourself away from the mindset that glory and doing the right thing are one and the same.  I have my own delusions of grandeur all the time (being a war hero), but then I remember all the slaughter would not be helping anyone or have any positive cause.

Conscientious Objection is being an objector to war.  Objection to the pointless slaughter for whatever reason, religion or politics is not the key point here.  Smedley Butler said it best and helps us to understand why war is morally wrong; it is essentially trading blood for money.

I am often confronted with the statement that there will always be men who want to hurt others, and that is entirely true!  But why does no one stop them?  If I were the vice president and the president wanted to start a war because he was upset with another nation, I would do everything to stop the madness of sending men to kill and be killed who had nothing to do with the politics involved!

An example I can use would be Germany, what if Hitler’s generals told him no?  What if they refused and removed him based on moral grounds from slaughtering all the Jews?  What if they refused to ignite a war across the Continent?  WWII would have never happened.  This same idea can be used with every atrocity in history.  What if those below said no?

One Conscientious Objector said during WWII that he would gladly kill Hitler but he was not going to slaughter people to do so!

When going through the process of becoming classified as a Conscientious Objector it is not about what you believe about wars past and hypothetical future wars, it is about war as you know it.  War as we all know it in this current generation has unfolded before us for the last decade.  I am not specifically saying that because I am against the invasion of the Middle East I am an Objector, I am saying because of how war is waged I am a Conscientious Objector.

Take a second to understand my statement.

Where I was my ROEs were as open ended as they could be.  Here is an explanation:  If anyone, woman, child, man, made the motion to jump into the compound we were to shoot them, visibly armed or not.  There would be no attempt to detain in the event either.  This clicked in me showing the true value of life, that these were other humans with souls and they didn’t matter to these warmongers who led us.

This was during the building of the new embassy in Tripoli after the mission in Benghazi was assaulted.  The White House was still lying about the event having happened because of some protest that got out of hand.  We were under the impression that a riot could happen any day.

There are numerous examples of how little life means in the war culture!  It’s not just the USMC, it’s not just the US DoD, it is all militaries that are cruel and merciless.  You have the sheep getting its skull beat in by a soldier with a baseball bat, the honorable marine gleefully throwing a puppy off a cliff, the prisoners excessively abused, humiliated, and tortured.

Don’t forget Collateral Murder where the Apache pilots had a free for all gunning down a crowd of men, two children and cameramen.

Prior to this event I got to see places and things that most Christians never get to see.  The unit I was with travelled and went places all over the Mediterranean Sea even making a brief stop in Israel.  These places changed me and this was where my beliefs grew, I became a growing Christian again after having delved head first into the evil of being a worldly warmonger in my younger years.

Jesus said to turn the other cheek, God commanded “Thou Shalt not Kill”, and Proverbs 3:30-32 “Strive not with a man without cause, if he hath done thee no harm. Envy not thou the oppressor, and choose none of his ways…”  These are a few of the references I understand now, that I could not comprehend years ago.

I have learned the value of life, that each person and animal deserves the chance to live.  No person is born racist or willful to indiscriminately harm others.  “The idea that some lives are worth less is the root of all that is wrong in the world.”

Being a Conscientious Objector is not pacifism nor cowardly.  It is being able to understand reality and have a true moral compass away from the indoctrination of glorified slaughter.  You can look to the non-aggression principle for help in understanding oppression and slaughter are wrong.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IkIKDKtRQuY

Conscientious Objection does not mean you will stand by and be killed willingly; you do not have to deny yourself the right to defend yourself, loved ones, or any victim.  To kill to protect the lives of innocents who are being oppressed, assaulted, or harmed around you is far different than armies or organizations fighting over greed and resources.

“Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.” Luke 22:36

Conscientious Objection is an advocacy of peace and diplomatic action in place of violence.  To defend one’s self against aggression is well within being a Conscientious Objector and a Christian.

I am a Conscientious Objector, I never want to have to kill anyone, I believe war is unnecessary, and I know war is unnecessary.  I will be one of the few who take the step to tell the world that I will not participate in their wars.

 

Below I will outline the process.

1. Before doing anything, contact a Counselor at the Center on Conscience and War.

  • They will help you to understand your beliefs and mindset by asking you different questions.
  • If you are 100% sure you are and they can see that, they will be more than willing to help.  If you are still on the fence they will help you to figure out where you stand.  Obviously they are a peace advocating organization so don’t expect them to appeal to your warmongering side.
  • Per Marine Corps Order 1306.16F you have to answer a select set of questions in a paper for your Conscientious Objector Application. (Summary of changes since June 2013)
  • They will recommend you complete these questions and help you to understand what the questions are asking before telling your command.
  • A good point to remember is that it is not politically based; it is based on your beliefs and/or morals.  No political arguments, nothing about media, no blasting the Marine Corps for anything they did to piss you off.
  • You will also determine what classification you want; they are 1-0 and 1-A-0.
  • 1-0 is separation because you cannot participate in anything war related. 1-A-0 is to be moved to another job that is not combat oriented. (These are basic descriptions; pages 8 and 9 of MCO 1306.16F have the full descriptions.)

(I worked on my paper for a month with 1 total revision before I had my beliefs organized in a sensible way.)

2. Once your paper is complete you will have to inform your chain of command you are a Conscientious Objector.

  • Be aware that you cannot claim this then go talking about war like it’s cool, participating in training concerning killing and training to kill in scenarios.  Continued participation will lead them to believe you are a liar and add an even more negative stigma to those like me.  DO NOT give in to peer-pressure!  Stand your ground!
  • This is often abused as an easy way out for reservists who are scared to deploy and that keeps a continued negative stigma going against those of us who believe this way.

3. Next they will set you up with an interview with a Chaplain so he can give an opinion of how sincere and deeply held your beliefs/morals appear.

  • Your counselor can prepare you with commonly asked questions.
  • The Chaplain is used because they tend to be one of the few guys who have a moral compass and can try to understand what you have to say.
  • This can happen fairly quickly, I had my interview a week after the initial claim of Conscientious Objector status.

4. You will be appointed an investigating officer (IO) to interview guys from your unit, your chain of command, and any other co-workers.

  • He will ask them about you, your attitude, any observable evidence etc.

5. The next step in the process is a Psych Evaluation.

  • This can be a relatively short interview.  He asks about how you feel, how your personal life is, and a range of other questions to determine if you’re ok mentally.
  • He is primarily looking for PTSD or something that would have a sudden trigger to cause you to want to be a Conscientious Objector.

6. Next you will be interviewed by your investigating officer.  He should be extremely thorough with the order so this process only needs to be completed once, it can be quite confusing and lengthy.

  • You will meet with him and he will ask you pointed questions.
  • You will need to remember that you don’t need to answer any political, hypothetical, or historical based questions.  You are to prove what you believe about war as YOU know it.
  • You will be allowed to bring in witnesses in person or even by phone and letters of support. Also, your counselor can listen by phone or be present.
  • My meeting was very informal.  It was the officer, my counselor on speaker phone, and we wore utilities.

7. After the interview he will type up his findings and submit it up the chain of command, Company CO, Battalion CO, Regimental CO, Division CO, G1, then HQUSMC will receive it, have a board for it, then decide what they think is best given what classification you have requested.

  • They cannot refuse 1-0 and give you 1-A-0 instead and vice versa.
  • The Commandant no longer has the authorization to deny you conscientious objector status, if he thinks you should be denied it is sent to the Secretary of the Navy for final review and determination.
  • As your package passes each CO they may choose to leave a letter of endorsement to say they agree or even disagree with you and what discharge they recommend for you.  It is also up to them to leave comments; if the endorsement letters are negative you should get the chance to write a rebuttal.
  • Discharge is based upon character of service, any NJPs, page 11s, etc.  These packages tend to be Honorable or General under Honorable.  In my case I have zero negative marks against myself and I would assume that guys who think like me have higher moral standards and stay out of trouble.  I received an Honorable classification.
  • When it comes to benefits the VA does not judge based on why you were discharged, they look at the type of discharge you receive.  (Be prepared to be degraded by peers, many people who are ignorant and do not want to understand will be very against you getting an honorable – because you didn’t finish the contract, not because of who you are in your heart, soul, and character.)

8. You must be persistent; you must constantly check in and find out where it is and its location.  Do not be annoying though, it can take two to three weeks at each level of command and you do not want to spotlight yourself for every working party and all menial tasks.

  • Get a copy of everything!  I have a few copies of the package all from different stages from corrections.  Anything that has to do with this application, GET A COPY!
  • DO NOT tell your command unless you are completely confident you have your ducks in a row and are ready to be interviewed.
  • One Conscientious Objector told his command before he had the questions answered and his thoughts sorted out and they had him to the Chaplain within the week unprepared.
  • Be ready for hiccups, something will be done wrong and it will have to have portions redone, it happened multiple times for me.
  • Be ready to be interrogated by higher-ups that see this.  Everyone in the battalion knew me and a few different sergeants and staff sergeants wanted to blindside me with a debate and try to catch me and twist my words (much like Jesus and Pharisees with their money and Caesar)
  • Be ready to be ridiculed by your peers.  You will be outcast and alone unless you have level headed guys that can understand some people believe differently than them.  Also be aware your chain of command may change the terminology they use when preparing for training by really indoctrinating that shooting back would be “self-defense” even though you would be the aggressor.
  • I have found that even combat vets agree with me to a certain extent and multiple combat vets blatantly told me they believe this decade of war in particular was pointless.  One vet even shook my hand and told me to keep at it.
  • While I am not a combat vet I learned from vets like the Iraq Vets against the War.  I take pride knowing that I can learn the lessons others had to learn through them – in other words, I never had to kill anyone to realize how wrong it is.
  • A question to ask is if your package is just for classification as a Conscientious Objector or if it includes the package for separation/job change or if your EAS date is just going to be changed once classification for 1-0 is determined.
  • This process has an average time from submittal to separation under 1-0 of 6 to 9 months

 

On a personal note what you can expect from your family depends on their character and love for you.

  • As a reawakened Christian actually following the teachings of Jesus Christ my mother is extremely proud of whom I have become, a complete 180 from the childish, selfish, immature, worldly warmonger I once was when I signed on.
  • Be prepared for negative opinions of any motivators/”government is god” types in your family and friends.  Many will not understand or even want to understand.
  • A common misconception for Christians is that in Romans it talks about governments are set in place by God.  This verse is often explained that all Christians should have unwavering loyalty.  The governments set in place by God are an enemy to evil and advocates for good.  I do not see a government following those standards in place over the United States or any other country.

 

This portion forward is more centered on my personal outlook.

If you are ok with war and want to go be some war hero but just hate the Marine Corps or military, do not abuse this and fake your way out, you will just be adding to the problem rather than fixing it.  When you are inevitably found out to be lying, your life will be that much worse off and you will help to ruin this for men like me.  If you have found a moral compass that tells you war is wrong and/or you found a religion you truly believe that advocates peace, then by all means go for it.  It’s a long rough path, but be strong.

For anyone who wants to still try to fake it through this consider other options first like the VEERP, early out for education, or just saving up a bunch of leave for terminal.  I don’t know how many types of separations there are because the manual for separations is apparently, from what I’ve heard, well hidden from the eyes of marines. (If you desperately need to see it talk to an IPAC/admin friend.)

This is a documentary on Conscientious Objectors in WW1 in Britain:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e43mHKNXEeA&feature=youtu.be

These are other Conscientious Objectors, American and Israeli:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iVPbkE_N9y0  (American)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4mk-pX4LIyU  (American)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WV_IPeKhShA  (Israel)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BBFd3R04w2k (Israel)

A page on facebook that has many horrifying pictures of what war is:

https://www.facebook.com/WARISARACKET

(For any Christians)

When dealing with dark times remember the Valley of the Shadow of Death and fearing no evil and how God led the Israelites out of Egypt, all the obstacles and hard times. If He sees you believe this in your heart, He will guide you on the path that will make you better. Also go to the Book of Daniel and read up on Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego or on Daniel trying to eat the different meal since the king’s food was corrupt.  (The Book of Daniel was what really showed me how I felt.)

You may agree; you may disagree; that is your right.  The Holy Ghost worked me into the decent and better man I am now and I am proud of who I have become.  This is information for anyone who feels they may be a Conscientious Objector and for anyone trying to figure out what Conscientious Objection even is.  It is also a good reference to anyone in a chain of command who may not have any idea what to do.

“To Hell with War”

-Major General Smedley Butler

 

Submitted by “Hooyut”

Is there Discrimination in the Marine Corps?

As the most elite fighting force in the United States’ massive military arsenal, the Marine Corps must uphold an image of professionalism at all times.  Marines are held to a higher standard because we proudly claim that we are the “tip of the spear.”  These higher standards ensure Marines always perform well in combat, their everyday jobs, and behave in a manner which is honorable, courteous, and respectful.  It takes hard work, but that is what it takes to be considered “professional.”

 

Any truly professional organization these days needs diversity.  People from significantly different backgrounds working together can produce amazing results and accomplish nearly anything imaginable.  One thing the Corps is good at is assembling groups of people from very dissimilar walks of life.  She is also very accepting of all people regardless of sex, religion, race, sexual preference, or nationality.

 

However…

 

Many Marines are not so…accepting of other cultures/religions/preferences.  I say “many” instead of “some” because during my enlistment, I noticed that the discrimination was not limited to a few…”good” men (sorry).  Bigotry comes in the form of every rank and for varying reasons.  Sometimes it is a racist SNCO.  Other times it may be the elitist Captain that thinks all enlisted men are dirt poor mud farmers who should be treated as if they were serfs in medieval times.  Finding a religious zealot, however, is a very common occurrence.

 

One of the worst parts of being bullied or discriminated against is not the douche bag attempting to ruin your day, but the fact that other human beings that stood by and watched without so much as saying a word out of fear that they, too, will be engaged by this monster.  For United States Marines, men that have been bred to fight injustices, this should not be difficult.

 

This is the part where I tell you two stories.  The first tale deals with one way the Marine Corps did an amazing job at ridding herself of an ignorant piece of garbage that was detrimental to the health and safety of her Marines.  The second, a much less than inspiring anecdote.

 

I call this guy “Pfc Hank Hill” mostly because he looked, in fact, like a much younger Hank Hill.  He was from East Texas, wore glasses, and had zero ass.  I’m willing to bet that if you checked his medical record you would indeed find at least one entry regarding a narrow urethra.  He was also one of those boots that buys a cowboy hat, boots, and gigantic motard belt buckle the first time they see Oceanside, magically transforming them into a cowboy (even though they grew up nowhere within 50 miles of an actual horse.)  Hill liked to drink while he told racist stories about “bustin’ n***** heads” back home.  He also enjoyed harassing the shit out of anyone he didn’t think was white or manly enough.  Months of this went by while we constantly complained to our NCO’s, who did nothing but giggle and tell us that the Corps would work it out.  One of them told me something that may be a cliche but has always stuck with me:  “Give him enough rope, he’ll hang himself.”

 

He did.  Figuratively, of course.  We had a pretty diverse class.  We had a black guy, two Latinos, a middle eastern dude, and only four southerners (none of whom shared Hill’s views on race).  Hill decided one night to have a few too many.  Being shitface and feeling entitled to the lounge, he stalked around mumbling random slurs at whoever looked  towards him.  After a few minutes of this, Chuck, our bearded black angel stepped in and had a seat.  Hill did not like him for two reasons;  a) he was black and b) he had a no shave chit.  Hill lost his damned mind, which prompted Chuck to calmly tell him that if he did not calm down and stop making everyone uncomfortable, he would tell the duty.  Firewatch broke up the would-be fight that ensued and directed stumbly-ass into the squad bay to quiet him down.  This didn’t help.  As soon as he got into the squad bay, Hill stumbled towards Gomez’s rack and started up again with his white power bullshit.  Gomie did not like this one bit and informed us all that if we did not restrain Hill, he was going to end up at medical with a broken everything.  Firewatch and a couple other guys pulled Hill back towards his rack and tucked him in, so to speak.  Just about the time everyone was sighing with relief, dumbshit gets back up and starts telling Ram (our Indian devil) how much fun its going to be gunning down his “hojee fambly” (yes, I assume everything out of his mouth is misspelled).  Apparently, that last remark was enough to send Gomie over the edge, because before any of us realized what was going on, he had jumped up from his rack, walked up behind Hill, turned him around by his shoulder, and knocked him out cold with a right cross that fired and hit so fast most of us didn’t even see it happen.  Our initial relief and several seconds of cheering were fleeting.

 

The same NCO that told me about letting him hang himself was on Duty that night.  No one saw him walk in.  No one saw him walk out.  He didn’t say one word to us or anyone else, he simply watched Gomie deal with it then stepped back outside until Hill was tucked back into his rack.

 

Firewatch reports “all secure” to the Duty a few minutes later when he walks back in the dark squad bay.

 

Duty:  “Get me your squad leaders real fast.”

 

Firewatch complies, fetching them.

 

Duty:  “You want to tell me what that was all about?”

 

Squad leaders:  “Pfc don’t know, Corporal.”

 

Duty:  “If you make statements, we can get him an adsep.  If you don’t, that’s up to you.  Come talk to me when you figure it out.”

 

The squad leaders grabbed a few of us and we all talked it out.  To us, there was no place in the Corps for anyone that has proven themselves to be a racist.  They reported to the duty and dropped their statements, then we all stood by.

 

It only took a few days for him to be dropped from the course.  Our SNCO’s really stepped up and handled his shit like professionals.  He got some of the most glorious ass-chewings I have ever had the pleasure of witnessing.  When it comes to obvious racism, they tend to take that shit seriously and act quickly.  Not so fast are they to react however, when other types of bigotry are exposed.

 

I accidentally found a religion that clicked with the way I think and I fully embraced it.  I knew from the start that it would not be a popular subject to bring up, so I hid it for months.  My friends knew and didn’t care, they themselves being fucking weirdos that were very accepting of, well, weird shit.  We were also all very into tattoos.

 

One of the NCO’s I attended the advanced course for my MOS with was also shared an interest in tattoos, and he invited me to a hotel party where his artist friend was going to be.  I went, had a few beers, then said “fuck it” and got a tattoo on my chest.  I looked at it as a way to show pride for my religion and celebrate my success (IMC is for NCO’s, SNCO’s, and Officers, I was the first Lcpl to attend and graduate.)

 

The following Monday, we were in the smoke pit between classes when one of the Sgts asked to see my new tat, which he liked.  Word got around and the SSgts liked it too, as well as a Gunny (after he heard the explanation).  We were shooting the shit for a while when one of the Gunnies from Bn came down, asked to see it, then snatched me up for a counseling session.  He tried to chew my ass until one of my instructors swooped in and knife-handed him for fucking with one of his students.  My instructor then asked me for an explanation and had me stand by for a few.

 

When he returned he had a concerned look on his face that worried me.  He was holding paperwork, and that made me more nervous, as I had no idea what I might have done wrong, as is the case with most awkward encounters with SNCO’s.

 

The staff had all just been through the updated tattoo policy, something that my command in Okinawa had already made us sit through.  He handed me the paperwork, which turned out to be a photocopy of the Order and told me to read it.  After reading it, he asked me if I had any banned tattoos, piercings, or brands and I informed him that I did not.  He nodded then asked me to show him my newest tattoo, so I complied.  When asked about its meaning, I truthfully gave a full description of what it means, why I have it, and what my next two pieces were going to be, as they are of a similar nature.  Without questioning my integrity, he thanked me for my honesty and told me to get back to work and tell him if anyone bothered me about it again.

 

Unfortunately, the next time I got shit for it I was several thousand miles away.  Returning to my unit was pretty sweet.  I got back during a 96 and had a few days to catch up with all the friends I missed and assholes I didn’t.  Something odd had occurred, though.  Everyone kept asking to see my new ink, but I hadn’t told anyone about getting it since returning.  I asked my buddy about it finally and he told me that our Gunny had received an email from one of the Gunnies at School (yeah, it was the one that tried to chew me out) saying that I had gotten a banned tattoo and that I should be charged the second I report in.  We had a good laugh about that shit, because it was funny.

 

We get to work and I’m working on an engine, waiting on an NCO to drive me around to check in, when the office bitch tells me to go see the CWO. We also had to find fairing fillers and do a minor repair. I had not personally been introduced yet, so I figured he was one of those commanders that likes to actually meet the Marines he is commanding.  Nope.

 

I get into the maintenance office and he bursts out of his door, sweaty and pissed.  Without one molecule of tact, he instructs me to strip my upper half so he can get a good look at this awful tattoo.  I instantly knew how fucked up the situation was so I tossed off the blouse and green skivvy and stood at a nice, proud, proper parade rest while he yelled things like “MOTHERFUCKIN’ WHITE BOY” “NJP” “Page 11” and my personal favorite, “YOU DON’T LOVE JESUS, BOY?”  All of this happened as the office bitch and his bitches, a couple of NCO’s, and every SNCO in my platoon and our sister platoon stood silently by, looking completely shocked throughout this performance in its entirety.

 

He finished his tirade by ordering me to speak with the Company 1st Sgt, a salty old bastard that gave zero fucks about petty bullshit.  First Sgt pulls up the order, has me show him the ink, laughs, then asks me about it.  I explain again, he laughs more, then tells me to stand by and get ready to report to the CO.

 

The Major was one hell of an awesome guy.  It always felt like he wanted to tell the Staff and NCO’s to stop fucking with us and let us do our jobs.  He was also very understanding and was the CO for the old reserve station that used to be in my home town (small Corps, small world.)  I didn’t even have to explain it to him, he was a well-educated man and said he realized that a man’s religion doesn’t make him good or evil, it is what is inside of him.  He was also the only one in the company that knew what the symbols on my calf mean, and allowed me to affirm instead of swear when he promoted me to Cpl (he made sure his Marines took the oath of enlistment again and recited the NCO’s Creed when promoted to Cpl.)  After speaking with him, no one in the company ever fucked with me about my religion or tattoos again.

 

Is what I wished would have happened.  For a while, I was left alone to do my job and exist.  Until we got a new CO.  He was a mustang that loved enlisted guys, but he was one of those extremely busy guys that are never in the office.  That CWO called me out every single time we had a formation, class, or lecture that had anything to do with tattoos, religion, respect, racism, or uniform standards.  Chaplain’s coming to talk to us about the MWR programs?  Ha, shit no devil, he walked up behind me right before the chaplain entered the room and loudly ordered me out of the room because I “obviously couldn’t care less what a man of god has to say (his words, not mine).”  He also tried to fail my room for field day before a CG Inspection for “eccentric decoration” because I had a picture of a religious leader on my wall and claimed it was “prejudicial to good order and discipline” and that my choice was “unauthorized.”  It didn’t work, as far as I know there is no such thing as “eccentric decoration” and Marines are totally allowed to worship however they need, and there is no “authorized religion” list.

 

One of my NCO’s felt very similar to the CWO, but enlisted men are MUCH easier to deal with, as they have bosses that will actually do their job.  Corporal…let’s call him…Corporal Susan, because he was a bitch-ass.  Corporal Susan brings back a box of freshly minted dog tags and instructs a Lance to distribute them.  Mine come back correct for once (custom job by the Underground and I still have them, thanks boys!), but he of course wants to make sure his Marines are squared away, so he double checks us all after we have them.

 

“What the fuck is this shit, devil dog?”

 

“My identification tags, Corporal.”

 

“No, what the fuck is this shit?  You can’t have that!  That shit is illegal, its unauthorized!  That’s it, I’m sick of your shit, stand the fuck by!”

 

Yeah, a United States Marine tried to tell me that my religion was unauthorized and illegal…then attempted to charge me with an article 134, where he was stuck forever trying to figure out how to properly word “I don’t like his religion” without sounding like a moron.

 

Lots of words, I know, but there is a point to them.  That point being, if you are in any way different from the crowd, you will be “put on blast” so to speak, and it will be by the very men put in charge of your well-being.  In an institution that is supposed to be open to all races, sexual preferences, and beliefs, there are some extremely bigoted people.  Diversity is something that the Marine Corps has boasted about for quite a while now, but as diverse as it may be, there are still plenty of petty pieces of shit that believe they are superior simply due to their beliefs.  Part of being a good leader is evolving, adapting, and changing not only your methods but also the way you think.  Leaders need to accept their subordinates for who they are, not despise them for having unfamiliar beliefs.

 

Race and religion represent only a fraction of the things people discriminate against.  Is there sexual discrimination in the Marine Corps?  This…this is a touchy subject.  But the answer is yes, and it is everywhere.

 

Understand that discrimination towards females in the Marine Corps is a double-edged sword.  Females are routinely disrespected (rarely to their faces or within earshot) but are often treated with much more respect if that makes sense to you (it does if you have a sister or if your mom is a total bitch).  This, as always, depends on the unit they are attached to.

 

My unit in Okinawa was integrated.  We had a female SSgt and a couple of Lcpls usually, and there were more throughout the battalion.  Back in those days they were known as “WM’s”, “Women Marines” or “Walking Mattresses.”  Sexist much?  Yeah, just wait.  Males were constantly reminded that those Marines were female and that we should never, ever, ever, under any circumstances, rape them.  Like, ever.  NCO’s inspecting for field day always talked about having to be careful not to fuck with them and to let a female NCO play games with them, never a male.  Yes, they weren’t allowed to haze females, only males.  But a female sergeant sure as fuck could come into your room and keep your penis-having devil dog ass up till 0300 without anyone batting an eye.  Female Marines have different PFT standards due to the fact that men and women are built differently, and this fact is often used by male Marines to disparage their efforts during PT.  Females in my unit were not treated as harshly as males were for falling out of runs, rarely getting a page 11 while males would receive this paperwork and be put on remedial PT (and for the record, if I had a period, I would have exploited that shit as well.)

 

Now for the part that fucks with me to this day, and probably will until this shit stops happening.  We had two females, a Lcpl and a Pfc (the latter had just been busted down for having a relationship with a Sgt in her last unit…also on Okinawa but on a different camp).  They were drunk when two NCO’s showed up, a Sgt and a Cpl, and decided that they wanted to party too.  The Sgt was married, so his NJP was a bit harsher.  He was soon a Lance, as was the Cpl.  The really shitty part was they used the Pfc’s bad reputation to keep the rape charges from sticking to either one, and both females got charged and busted down for fraternization.  Yes, they were raped and then punished for reporting it.

 

This happens more than Marines will admit, and they often pull the “she was drinking with some Marines, what did she expect to happen?”  Know what she expected?  She expected her Marines to protect her.  She expected her NCO’s to look out for her.  She expected her brothers to act like professionals, not drunken frat boys looking to get a piece of free pussy.

 

Both of these Marines were treated like absolute shit after this.  They were known as sluts and whores, the bitches that fucked up poor Sgt Daterapist’s illustrious five-year career.  “Man, all he wanted was a little strange…bitch could have just put out she didn’t have to cry rape like that…”  When you actually hear another human being say something like that out loud after knowing what happened, it is very difficult to resist the urge to punch their fucking teeth down their throat.  They were standing extra duty, put on every working party imaginable, forced to field day throughout their restriction (60 days) and PT’d constantly.  Their lives were hell because they opened their mouths and told the truth about being sexually assaulted by their superiors, both of whom ended their enlistment as Corporals.

 

Women are definitely discriminated against in the Marines.  Not by the Corps, but by the Marines themselves.  Policies cannot be enforced if commanders are willing to throw females under the bus to protect the image of their unit and the victims are afraid to step forward and speak up. They are often too scared to report these crimes because they have seen what happens to other females that don’t comply with the rape culture bullshit.

 

No matter how awful the treatment of personnel can get, I would have to say that I truly feel for any openly gay male enlisted Marines right now.  The few times I encountered the true homophobia of United States Marines, I was appalled.  For bloodthirsty, hardened war machines, these men acted as if they were children.  Mean, stupid children.

 

On an average day, a Marine might use the word “gay” sixty times, mostly describing arbitrary NCO orders.  They will call each other “fag” and “faggot” a lot, like most young men these days.  This seems normal at first, until you leave base and end up in Palm Springs outside a bar with a few of them.  I have seen many a devil dog grow instantly, aggressively angry the second they see an effeminate guy walking around in jean shorts and high heels.  Here are some words that I have actually heard out of Marines’ mouths around/about members of the LGBT community:

 

“Git ‘way frum me faggit or Ima bust yer shit!”

“If that tranny fuck sez sumthin’ ta me Im gunna fuck its worl up.”

“I think Lcpl Quietguy is a queer, keep and eye on him for me, I don’t want no faggots in my Corps.”

“I heard Lcpl Notabrute was talking to some guy in a club.  Think its enough to get him charged?”

“Don’t do that faggot shit around me.  I hate that faggot shit!”

 

To me, that is some seriously fucked up shit.  I would almost have to assume that openly gay males have similar problems to females:  a slight break on the hazing and bullshit punishment in exchange for no one taking them seriously and constant allegations that they only got where they are because they throated a few gallons of Commissioned Cocksauce, but knowing Marines as well as I do, they will probably be hazed much harder in addition to said allegations.

 

No one is safe from discrimination, though.  Like I said, the Marine Corps is a diverse organization with many differing ideologies, philosophies, and beliefs, many of which contradict each other.  You will meet good ole boys that believe White is Right.  You will meet black guys that hate all white people, and you will meet brown guys that hate all white people.  You might meet an Asian guy that hates everybody.  You will definitely meet men that hate homosexuals, and you will meet men that you won’t find out are gay until years after your enlistment ends.  There are christians that hate muslims that hate jews that hate wiccans that hate vegans that hate lesbians that hate men that hate satanists.  Most of the Marines I worked with couldn’t care less as long as you did your job and didn’t cause trouble, but there are some really awful pieces of shit out there that need to be flushed, as they are leaving a nasty brown stain on the beautiful porcelain toilet bowl that is the United States Marine Corps.

Let’s Play Why is it Hazing?

My goal here is to attempt explaining the Marine Corps Order regarding Hazing and provide some examples for context.  There is often confusion as to what can be defined as hazing, as the Marines have a tendency to push the envelope as far as possible when it comes to this particular subject and fight it with every base-less logic they can come up with in order to keep each other out of trouble and save their unit’s reputation.

The Marine Corps Order on Hazing (MCO 1700.28B http://www.marines.mil/Portals/59/Publications/MCO 1700.28B.pdf) can be a Marine’s best friend.  It is one of the few Orders that were written to increase the quality of life for everyone.

Not everyone clearly understands the Order, however.  The examples used in many classes are only of an extreme nature, most pointing to the “blood-winging” video released in the 1990’s.  Hazing can be much less violent and much more discrete than that, and the Order clearly states this fact.

According to Section 2 of the Order, hazing is “any conduct whereby a military member or members, regardless of Service or rank, without proper authority causes another military member or members, regardless of Service or rank, to suffer or be exposed to any activity which is cruel, abusive, humiliating, oppressive, demeaning, or harmful.”  It goes further, stating that “soliciting or coercing another to perpetrate any such activity” is also considered hazing.

So what is considered hazing?  Well, following the Order again, “hazing need not involve physical contact between military members; it can be verbal or psychological in nature.”   What this means is that hazing is not just assaulting the new guy, it is also terrorizing him by ANY other means.

Specific examples in the Order are:  “physically striking another to inflict pain outside of a supervised training exercise; piercing another’s skin in any manner (such as “pinning,” “tacking on,” or “blood wing(ing),”); verbally berating another for the sole purpose of belittling or humiliating; encouraging another to excessively consume alcohol or encouraging another to engage in illegal, harmful, or dangerous acts; playing abusive or ridiculous tricks; threatening or offering violence or bodily harm to another; branding; taping; tattooing; shaving; greasing; painting; requiring excessive physical exercise beyond what is required to meet standards; or the forced consumption of food, alcohol, drugs, or any other substance.”

Hazing is not always an NCO treating their Marines like shit.  Section 2d states that hazing can also occur “between peers or involve actions toward senior military personnel by those junior in rank or grade to them.”  Although rare, this does happen, usually to a young officer or NCO.

With such a broad description, many leaders question what is NOT considered hazing.  To their question, refer to Section 2e:  “Properly administered EMI…is not hazing; it provides a tool for small unit leaders to increase proficiency of the unit or individuals in assigned duties.”  It also states that an EMI (Extra Military Instruction) is required to be applied logically and that and is not to be used as a punishment, but as a way to positively correct a carefully identified deficiency.  An EMI may not last longer than two hours per day, must be held immediately prior to or following the work day (if conditions do not allow, the EMI must take place at a different REASONABLE time), may not last longer than it takes to correct the deficiency, should not be conducted on the member’s Sabbath, and may not be used to deprive someone of the normal liberty that they would be otherwise entitled (member can turn to liberty after completion of EMI.)  Only the CO or OIC have the authority to assign EMI after normal working hours, but they also have the authority to delegate this power to officers and NCO’s whose duties include training.

The policy very clearly states in Section 3a that hazing is unlawful, prohibited, will not be tolerated in Marine units or detachments, will not be condoned or ignored, and that it is every Marine’s responsibility to ensure that it does not occur in any form on any level.  Violating, attempting to violate, or persuading others to violate the Order are also prohibited.  Marines found to be violating the Order may also be subject to other violations of the UCMJ such as Articles 80 (Attempts), 81 (conspiracy), 92 (violation of a lawful general order), 93 (cruelty and maltreatment), 124 (maiming), 128 (assault), 133 (conduct unbecoming an officer and gentleman), and 134 (general article).

Reprisals or revenge schemes that in any way come from hazing allegations are strictly prohibited.  Victims of hazing are to report all incidents and evidence thereof to their CO immediately.  Commanders are required to conduct a preliminary investigation into every report and all personnel are required to exhibit extreme caution and sensitivity throughout the proceedings to minimize re-victimization.  Investigations are to be focused on the environment that fostered hazing while attempting to prevent future incidents.  Commanders must provide advocacy services for their subordinates and closely monitor victims for stress reactions associated with physical and psychological abuse.

What does all of that mean?  It means you should be able to perform your duties as a Marine without having to worry about being subjected to humiliating forms of torture for things such as being late to work or getting promoted to a higher rank.  It means you don’t need to live in fear.

To put this into context, here are some examples that could be considered hazing by the current Order:

That SNCO that humiliated you in front of the entire company by telling you that you are a worthless piece of shit that doesn’t belong in his beloved Corps because you failed field day has hazed you.
Why is it hazing?  Screaming that kind of vitriol at you was not constructive, did not correct a deficiency, was humiliating, and degraded your reputation in front of your peers.

You were five minutes late for PT formation so Sgt Motardovez woke you up at 0500 on Saturday and PT’d you for three hours.
Why is it hazing?  Physical Training can not be used as a punishment, and running does not correct the problem of you being late.

A senior Lcpl instructed you to go to the tool room and request a boltstretcher, 50 feet of shore line, a can of A-I-R, bottle of blinker fluid, Prick E-5, or any other imaginary object.
Why is it hazing?  Although hilarious and tame by Marine standards, they are purposely sending you on a “dummy” mission in order to humiliate you, and possibly get you a hardcore ass-chewing (if the tool room NCO is a Sergeant…)

You partied a little too hard and passed out…then your fellow Lcpls stripped you naked and drew penises all over you.
Why is it hazing?  Once again, pointless humiliation, and Marines are supposed to be better than that.

You are a Cpl and your Sgt just told you to fail Pfc Bootballs and Lcpl BouttoEAS for field day because one is a boot and the other is a shitbag.
Why is it hazing?  Conspiring to haze someone is still hazing.

Cpl Fuckface and Cpl Roidrage kick your door in and inform you that if you attempt to complain about Sgt Dickbrain’s hazing you, they will beat the bloody shit out of you.
Why is it hazing?  They are intimidating you for speaking out, and that is an act of reprisal.

Cpl PFT thought you didn’t sound off enough, so he took you into one of the storage containers and IT’d you boot camp style.
Why is it hazing?  Incentive Training (IT) is only authorized at Marine Corps Recruit Depots.

One of your SNCO’s referred to you as an extremely disrespectful derogatory term for someone of your background (race, religion, sex, orientation, etc.) in formation, during a class, or in public.
Why is it hazing?  Not only is this humiliating, it is attempting to turn you into an outcast among your peers.

The following section is about hazing on social media sites and the internet.

Your NCO or another fellow Marine took pictures of you and posted them on the internet for the purpose of making fun of your appearance.
Why is it hazing?  Posting pictures, even in an unofficial capacity, that may bring discredit upon the Marine Corps is in direct violation of the Marine Corps Policy on Social Media Guidance [http://www.marines.mil/News/SocialMedia/Guidance.aspx] and the Marines Social Media Handbook [http://www.marines.mil/Portals/59/Docs/Marines-Social-Media-Handbook[1].pdf].&nbsp; Attempting to humiliate another service member is hazing.

A picture you posted of yourself ended up on another website and active duty Marines have posted offensive derogatory comments.
Why is it hazing?  Quoting the Social Media Guidance document: “Marines should avoid offensive and inappropriate behavior that
could bring discredit upon themselves and the Marine Corps. This
behavior includes posting any defamatory, libelous, obscene, abusive,
threatening, racially or ethnically hateful, or otherwise offensive or
illegal information or material
.”  Also, this can be seen as an act of humiliation.

One of your pictures ended up on another website and one of your fellow Marines posted your name or other personal information.
Why is it hazing?  From the Social Media Guide:  “Marines should be extremely judicious when disclosing personal details
on the Internet, and should not release personal identifiable
information (PII) that could be used to distinguish their individual
identity or that of another Marine.”  Giving out your personal information can open the door for criminals or anyone else to harass, defame, or humiliate you.

Another Marine created a fake social media profile, used your pictures, and is pretending to be you.
Why is it hazing? They are trying to defame or humiliate you and possibly sabotage your career.  Social Media Guidance states that Marines “should not disguise, impersonate or otherwise misrepresent their identity or affiliation with the Marine Corps.”

There are too many possibilities to list, but pay attention because if you witness it you must report it.  It IS your responsibility.  Hazing is such a huge problem mainly because no one speaks out about it until it is too late.  The best advice I can give is this:  If you think you are the victim of hazing, research the Order and speak with a peer that you trust, then report and document EVERYTHING.  How often you have barracks duty, the frequency of your addition to working parties, how often you fail field day, your work load increase, literally everything.  Finding witnesses helps, if you can get them to man up and step forward with you.  If someone threatens you to drop it or else, report them too.  Whatever you do, do not let them think they can control you with fear, because that is how this shit spreads and sticks around.  Some members of your unit will try that macho bravado brotherhood bullshit and call you a bitch or a pussy.  Let them.  Your SNCO’s and officers will let your NCO’s know not to fuck with you because you will, in fact, not stand up for that bullshit, and those NCO’s will comply whether they like it or not.  If you get to a new unit, that reputation will follow you, but it won’t be bad.  Most of the guys will understand the situation and give you respect for standing up for yourself like an adult.

Hopefully Helpful Links:
Marine Corps Order on Hazing  http://www.marines.mil/Portals/59/Publications/MCO 1700.28B.pdf
Marines Social Media Guidance  http://www.marines.mil/News/SocialMedia/Guidance.aspx
Marines Social Media Handbook  http://www.marines.mil/Portals/59/Docs/Marines-Social-Media-Handbook[1].pdf

Submitted by: AAVPOG

Your favorite “NCO Can’t Do His Job” story

Meritorious promotion boards are a joke.  They are the military equivalent of a beauty pageant.  Marines that excel at PT, uniform maintenance, and false motivation compete for a promotion instead of a tiara.  Many Marines do not like or respect these NCO’s due to the fact that they often cannot perform their MOS properly for someone who is in the position of a working supervisor.

Of the many Marines that I met whom could not perform their job but were meritoriously promoted, Corporal Dickbag was my least favorite.  He was Motor T and came to Okinawa as a Lance fresh from school.  Being a squad leader at boot camp and the guide at school, of course he was more motarded than most boots, and loved to show that shit in front of Staff.  This, along with his 300 PFT, caught their attention and within months he was being prepped for a board.

He won.  Everyone in his section, senior Lances and Corporals alike, hated him and complained about his inability to turn a wrench, so he was made into their paperwork bitch.  If you know much about Marines, you know that the most useless guys are often the most moto and full of shit.

Our battalion loved to cross-train since we had Motor T and a 4th echelon (read: rebuilding shit) shop.  One of the other companies sent a few boots to learn how to do a rack adjustment on an LVS and we needed someone to properly teach them.  Should we have one of the Lance Corporals who have been to advanced school, or should we grab an NCO because…um…he’s an NCO and it would make us look better?  Obviously grab someone that definitely knows what they are doing, right?

Diesel engines have a tendency to “run away” under the right conditions.  When this happens, fuel and air are sucked into the combustion chambers at an accelerating rate, possibly ending in catastrophic failure.  The LVS engine is equipped with a turbocharger, making this possibility much more dangerous but easier to deal with:  Putting a clipboard over the turbo to cut the air supply shuts it down very quickly.  Anyone who has been trained to do this kind of work knows this.

While teaching boots how to adjust this LVS, by reading off a checklist on a clipboard mind you, the engine starts to run away.  Corporal Dickbag panics, looking to his paperwork for answers as one of our Lcpls that happened to be nearby yelled to him to cut off the air.  Dickbag, holding his clipboard in one hand, snatches a handful of rags with the other and shoves his fist into the air shredding 120,000+rpm spinning blades of the turbocharger.  He pulled back a stump.

Put your left hand flat on a table then cover your fingers only from the last knuckle on your index finger to the first knuckle on your pinky.  That is what he lost.

He went TAD soon after that, then passed the recon indoc when his hand healed.  I saw him with a recon platoon in Thailand the next year during Cobra Gold.  They called him Stumpy.

That engine did stop, though, and it was sent to our shop to rebuild.

An Open Letter: Apologies for Field Day

Dear Backbone of the Marine Corps (the ACTUAL one),

I’m going to start by apologizing to you for the behavior of myself and your other NCO’s during Field Day.  While we DO have to make sure your room is clean, we DON’T have to be total cocks about it.  The Marine Corps has a certain set of standards for everything that…well…um…nobody really knows 100% what those standards for dust are…but…uh…standards, devil!

Shit, sorry.  I forgot how to think for myself for a moment.

I’m sorry I pulled your bed, nightstands, and wardrobes away from the wall and made you clean behind them.  I knew Gunny wasn’t going to check back there, but Sgt. Nazi told us we had to keep you up until at least 0200 because you didn’t sound off loud enough last Monday during PT.

I’m sorry I stuck my greasy finger on your mirror while pointing out the salt-grain-sized spot in the corner and smudged it all the way across.  That, admittedly, was a dick move.

I’m sorry I swiped my finger along that little crack where the back of the toilet meets the floor.  Not only was that completely unnecessary, I’m pretty sure that’s how I got Hepatitis.

I’m sorry I opened your unsecured wall locker, threatened to steal all of your shit, then telling you that you are the reason that there are thieves in the Marine Corps.  To be completely honest, there are thieves in the Marine Corps because we have a legacy of stealing shit and calling it “acquiring.”

I’m sorry I tossed that little bit of dirt I palmed under your shoe display and failed you for it.  Staff Sergeant Reprisal showed me that one.

I’m sorry I made you all stand out in formation for thirty-seven minutes while the other NCO’s and I stood around bullshitting about who we were going to fail, why, and what for.  I know you could have used that time to work on your room, even though it would have failed anyways because Top doesn’t want any of you to get in trouble this weekend while he’s the SDO.

I’m sorry I kept you up until 0330 when you had driver duty the next day.  I know how much it sucks to have to drive the SDO, OOD, and Bn Admin guys around all day and night on three hours of sleep, and I know the Order states that drivers must be permitted to sleep for 8 hours prior to duty to keep them from falling asleep behind the wheel and killing someone, but you fell out of that run a few weeks ago and Sgt Motard thinks this will help you become a better Marine.  Also, I apologize for chewing your ass for disrespect and talking back then threatening you with NJP when you politely reminded me that you had duty.

I’m sorry I got drunk and kicked your door in a couple of hours after I told you you could sleep.  That…there is no explanation for that.  Sorry.

I’m sorry I let Sgt Bumblefuck snatch you up for that working party.  Had I known the acidic substance he chose to use to attempt cleaning the sidewalks would only make a bigger, permanent mess, I would have acquired the keys to the haz-mat locker before he could get his stupid, fat fingers on them.

I’m sorry I volunteered you for morning cleanup last week.  I thought I heard you whisper something in formation, turns out it was Cpl Fucktard!

I’m sorry I yelled, “and none of you better have a fucked up shoe display like Lcpl (totally your name dude) here!”  That was totally pointless, your shoe display was actually quite lovely, devil nuts.

I’m sorry I inspected your room while drinking a beer.  I forgot we told you guys you couldn’t drink during Field Day.

Lastly, I would like to apologize for the following, less specific offenses:

Playing lookout for Sgt Spartan while he hazed you and your roommate.
Making you field day knowing full well that Gunny told us this week was general cleanup with no inspection.
Failing you for “dust.”  Look at it as your introduction to Article 134.
Tracking dirt, mud, and rocks into your room from my boots then chewing your ass for it.
Farting in your freshly Febreze-bombed hamster cage of a room right before Sgt Sillypants came through to inspect.
Terrorizing your sleeping roommate.  I know he’s TAD and hates you for what we do.
Fucking with you the night before you went on leave.
Fucking with you the night before 72’s and 96’s.
Fucking with you in general.  It isn’t nice, and we don’t have to do it.

In closing, I would like to apologize to all future Marines that have to deal with shit head NCO’s on Field Day.  Maybe someday we can all band together and make Field Day a not-so-shitty experience for all Marines.

Love (in a begrudging, hateful way),

Your NCO, 1369, USMC

Submitted by: AAVPOG

The Illusion of Training

Recruiters often speak of the awesome training that Marines will receive during their enlistment.  From cooks to admin clerks to LAV mechanics, Marines are said to be the best trained troops America has to offer.  But wait a sec, doesn’t the Corps have an extremely tight budget?  Yes, and that tiny budget casts a ridiculously large shadow across advancement opportunities across the board.  But, but, but aren’t Marines really good at making the best of a bad situation and adapting and overcoming and all that?  Well…yes and no.  Yes, Marines are pretty good at working with a shoestring budget, but the Corps is not.  Much like a college student, Marines can sustain themselves on booze and ramen.  The Corps however, is one hell of an expensive date, and she don’t put out, you do.  But before I start bashing the Marine Corps for its horribly deficient training programs, I must first explain a little about the futility to certain types of training.

There are many ways to try to “harden” a man.  The tried and true methodology for Marines has for many years been “stress these motherfuckers out so much that they literally lose all fucks about their health.”  It has had…limited success.  At MCRD recruits are screamed at, insulted, hazed, and tortured until they lose their individuality and therefore care much less about their own lives.  Many boots are willing to jump on a grenade just to avoid disappointing their Drill Instructors.  Notice I didn’t say, “to save lives.”  The fear of disappointing one’s superiors is equal to or greater than death itself;  if you die, you die a hero, if you disappoint, you are a shitbag for life.  There are much more effective ways of producing warriors, but warriors are not what the Corps wants.  They want robots.  Killing machines.  Your Drill Instructors may even refer to you as such.

Truthfully, there is no proven way to turn a young man into a warrior.  Warriors are born, they are not created.  You can’t infuse backbone into a man if he was raised without one.  Boot camp will not help you grow a pair of big, shiny, golden testicles if you don’t have the starter kit, kiddo.  No amount of training will ever be 100% effective.

The effectiveness of Marine Corps training programs often comes into question, mainly by those participating in said programs.  Effectiveness and readiness are affected negatively from the lack of proper materials regularly.  Budget cutbacks do not help this.  Marines are often forced to train with substitute training materials such as:  Imaginary rifles, imaginary targets, imaginary ammunition, imaginary lives.  Required annual training and qualifications such as rifle and pistol normally get pushed back until the last minute because…well usually its because someone is being a lazy buddy fucker and blocking junior enlisted from being promoted.  Gas mask qual?  Ha, good fucking luck with that if you’re a POG.  Well, at least they always make sure to pick instructors that are really good right?

In a word:  FUCKNO.  Example:  I was a range coach on 29 Palms for two weeks.  Wanna know what my qualifications were?  I had a rifle expert badge.  There was no training, it was “Corporal, you have an expert badge?  Good, you’re the range coach for Gunny Schmuckatelli and whoever the fuck else needs to qual this time.  Good to go?”  That’s like saying, “Hey Devil, you can pass a PFT, right?  Good, administer this SNCO’s required-for-his-career qualification test and if he fails it will totally somehow be your fault.  Good to go?”

Instructors, like every other Marine Corps leader, vary in quality and effectiveness.  There are many excellent instructors throughout the Marine Corps, most of them belonging to MOS schools.  Instructors at the school battalions, from what I have experienced and been told, are generally very motivated (not motarded) and effective.  That being said, there are some real bastards out there as well.  Burn happy Staff await unwitting Privates and Pfc’s around every corner, ecstatic over the prospect of raping another Marine’s career from the get-go.  The Marine Corps policy of “push them through, they’ll fix them in the Fleet” applies here as thickly as it blankets boot camp, unfortunately, resulting in many Marines either not fully grasping the concept of what their job entails and some that couldn’t perform properly at all.  It isn’t all bad, but there are many drawbacks to being under-funded that need to be explored and repaired in order to fix these glaring deficiencies.

–What you should know about the gas chamber specifically–

You might get to hit the gas chamber on time every year in a POG unit, but you must realize that there will be a remedial class that lasts all fucking morning and the freaky NBC guys giving the class will murder you with VX if you ask questions because a) they do this every fucking week (or more often), and b) QUESTIONS MAKE CLASSES LAST LONGER YOU STUPID INCONSIDERATE BUDDY FUCKER!!!  They will answer even the saltiest of Pfc’s questions with a pissed off stare and a repeated statement from the power point through teeth so gritted in anger they may shatter.  You may or may not have to break the seal on that bad boy when you physically hit the chamber and the hazy shit starts happening.  When I was on Okinawa we weren’t required to break the seal, but if you didn’t you were a pussy.  Remember that when you fill out your Final Physical paperwork because they graciously provided a space for you to check because if you broke that seal, congratulations dumbass, you just exposed yourself to CS.  The NBC guys know this, and they will laugh at you as you cough every drop of slime from your nasty little grape.  Also, remember to wash your hands before you touch your no-no.  I swear to fuck, there is ALWAYS one guy that goes off to take a piss and starts screaming about how it feels like his dick is on fire, and not from the HSV this time.–

What you can expect from Marine Corps training in general:

The training the Marine Corps provides can be very useful in your MOS and sometimes in the civilian world, but do not count on any state-of-the-art technological wonders.  The most common tool used by Marine Corps instructors of almost any billet is Power Point.  Your texts at MOS school will likely be photocopies of the power point presentation along with the same file in outline form and a shit load of pages that will be “intentionally left blank” because the government fucking LOVES to waste paper, all bound in a three-ring binder.  What did you expect, a fucking textbook?  Hahahahaha, you haven’t learned anything yet, have you?  Technically, your training materials will tell you everything you need to know about your MOS.  Technically.  Most likely, it will be horribly outdated and include references to technology that doesn’t even exist anymore.  Everything will be broken down in such detail that you may go mad trying to figure out if they are fucking kidding you.  As detailed as your training will be, it will be insufficient, and you will data-dump everything the SECOND you report in to your first permanent duty station.

What you should know about using your training if you were dumb enough to enlist:

Some of it will matter, some of it won’t.  No one will care that you are a rifle expert unless your new job is SWAT sniper.  Ah, I see you’ve received training in stabbing people with a bayonet, sorry but that particular job skill isn’t quite what we’re looking for.  If you go in as an Admin Clerk, leave out the part about your HMMV license unless the job requires you to drive an HMMV.  If you don’t like the job you get when you enlist, you can always to go college when you get out and change fields.  If you do enjoy your job you can always get out and go to school for something that is close to what you did.  For instance, if you were in Motor T and you loved turning a wrench, you can go get your degree in Auto Tech, Diesel, Manufacturing, or something similar.  Bonus:  Technical and vocational career instructors like veterans because we understand the material, take the shit seriously, have useful experience that THEY can learn from, and we’re not eighteen year old douchebags (we’re much more mature douchebags.)  Put that degree in a fat black pot, toss in some experience, throw in a dash of DD214 and you finally may have yourself a future, young one.

Or, you could always do the reasonable thing and GO TO FUCKING COLLEGE LIKE A SMART PERSON!

 

Submitted by “AAVPOG”

The Dog and Pony Show Survival Guide

Dog and Pony Show:  A term used in the US Armed Forces to describe an event, often of arbitrary significance, which caters to the narcissistic needs of superiors.  DnP’s are often disguised as Change of Command ceremonies, Family Fun Days, random events when civilians get access to bases en masse, or anything with “General” in the name.  Vehicles, equipment, gear, weapons, and personnel are often positioned with a great amount of strategery to simultaneously highlight the more positive aspects of military life while downplaying the negative.*

*Note:  You won’t often see civilians tour an occupied USMC barracks due to the lethal cloud of alcohol, smoke, cursing, and hate that surrounds enlisted Marines.

As a United States Marine, you will learn all about the DnP.  In detail (you poor, poor, boot bastard).  The Marine Corps loves a good dog and pony show the way she loves her classes.  The longer, slower, hotter, and mind-numbingly-boring the better.  Officers and lucky civilians get to look at all the pretty devil dogs in their adorable uniforms, standing in those big grid formations of meat and camouflage, their feet creating a low, thunderous rumble with each carefully measured step.  Hell, if they’re lucky enough they’ll get to see those poor, sweaty bastards play with their rifles, salute, or scream some ridiculous chant really loudly in unison (OMG I sooo hope they say that “hooah” thing!!).  After this awesome display of patriotsturbation, they will get the chance to shuffle around (for-goddamned-ever) whilst staring blankly at whatever vehicle or equipment display has been thrown together by the least creative SNCO or officer who got voluntold to make a bunch of ugly piles of shit look presentable.  Nothing like proving to generals and civilians that you do…something…uh, productive?…with all that fat tax money they keep throwing at you.

The DnP starts early, as do most things in the Marine Corps.  For example, let’s say there will be a ceremony on the parade deck at 1000 that will last until 1130 (will actually end around 1220), followed by a guided tour that ends at a glorious display of “guns n’ hummers n’ tanks n’ ‘Merica,” with a grande finale of you and all of your buddies discretely getting face-raped by an NCO (after they’ve been properly face-raped by a SNCO.) after all of the civvies and people with shiny shit take off.  You know by now that if the ceremony starts at 1000, formation should be around 0915-0930ish.  Unfortunately, you forgot how special of an occasion this is.  A FUCKING GENERAL MIGHT BE HERE!  Formation is at 0900 the day before.  You will be told to field day your shop and equipment, company/battalion offices, parking lots, barracks, barracks, and barracks.  You might also field day the barracks.  The most fully-functioning-looking vehicles, gear, and equipment are scrubbed clean, painted (if needed) and cleaned again.  If it is a vehicle, it will probably break down for no reason overnight or seven seconds after you start it up the next morning when it needs to be staged for display (yes, you will have to prepare another vehicle if you can’t tow yours in and pull a Weekend at Bernie’s).  The actual ceremony starts at 1000 and the uniform is cammies (you lucky turd) but you need your rifle, and it must be spotless.  Your first inspection will be…yesterday afternoon for the rifle and last night after field day ended around 2342 for the uniform you wear every single day.  Your first one for today, though, will be at 0730, right after PT and field day inspection.

Check out your rifle from the Armory Clusterfuck yet?  Good, now stand the fuck by, devil nuts, shit is about to get…just…just awful.  By 0900 you will be in formation getting your final ass-chewing/impromptu arbitrary inspection, and so will all the other companies or battalions (depending on the scale of this assrapery).  Whichever dick head NCO that has been instructed to “post” out front while the Staff and Oscars bullshit behind formation will inevitably put everyone at the POA for several minutes at a time to keep you from getting too complacent while standing at parade rest with a rifle in 110 degree Okinawan humidity, then get tired himself and “At Ease” your asses for a few moments.  This process will repeat until about thirty seconds before the Little Old Man decides to kick shit off.  Guys will walk around showing off their big stick covered in their favorite pretty fabric samples, the band will drop some fat patriotic beats, and a few older gentlemen will jerk each other off for a while.  This process, especially the congratsturbating, can take an extremely long time, and you will likely find yourself thinking some of the following thoughts:

“Jesusfuckingchrist it is hot as fuck out here.  God damn it.”
“I should have joined the Air Force.”
“Welp, Jones just passed out.  SILVER BULLET!”
“How fucking long can this shit possibly go on?”
“Are they not sweating their balls off up there, too?”
“I need to piss.  So.  Bad.”
“Beer.”
“Fuck.  My.  Life.  Fuck it so, so hard.”
“That’s two down for Bravo Company.  They must not hydrate over there.”
“What the fuck are they talking about?”
“Oh dear Lord Jesus his fucking wife is giving a goddamned speech now??”
“Sax player just went down, I wonder if they’ll play ‘Another One Bites the Dust?'”
“I should have joined the Air Force.”
“Third row, fifth seat from the left.  I would smash that SO hard.”
“Shit my left hand wasn’t perfectly straight for a moment, I wonder which NCO is going to jump my ass for that…”
“Okay…slowly…gently…oh thank fuck, I thought that drop of sweat was going to tickle my taint forever.”
“Fuck, I’m going to have to buy more socks.  You can’t wash this much sweat out.”
“IS HE STILL FUCKING TALKING?”
“I should have joined the Air Force.”

Eventually, after the Generals decide that enough Marines have succumbed to heat stroke, the faggy pride parade comes to an abrupt and uneventful end with some civilians awkwardly trying to decide whether or not it would be proper form to cheer or just go home and pretend they didn’t just watch a handful of America’s finest young men sustain heat injuries for their amusement.  If you are one of the lucky ones, you will be either sent back to work or released for liberty, if you are extremely lucky.  If you have been chosen to provide assistance to the buttfuckery that is the Dog and Pony Show Working Party Extravaganza, then you about to go for a ride, my friend.

Get ready for the ultimate test in keeping your composure, for you are about to embark on an insane journey of self-discovery that will stretch the limits of your imagination far beyond any line you may think you have crossed.  No, not really.  You are about to be asked a series of very, very stupid questions, though.  Very stupid.  Here are some of the most common, followed by the appropriate/inappropriate response:

Question:  “What is this big thing?  Some kind of tank?”
Appropriate Response:  “This is an AAV.  Marines use these to assault beaches.”
Inappropriate Response:  “This is an AAV.  Marines use these to make grunts pass out and throw up from the huge, toxic exhaust leak that every single one of them has.”

Q:  “Do you like being in the Marines?”
AR:  “I love it.  I get to defend my country while earning college credit and gaining useful experience.”
IR:  –THE TRUTH–

Q:  “I bet you have to be pretty smart to work on these, huh?”
AR:  “The Marine Corps only accepts the best and brightest, sir.”
IR:  “One of my NCO’s lost half his left hand by sticking it in the turbocharger.”

Q:  “I was in during the 60’s/70’s/80’s/90’s, is it still the good old Corps I remember?”
AR:  “Better than ever.  We pride ourselves on our willingness and ability to evolve as a professional institution.”
IR:  “Yep, still racist as fuck-all and infinitely homoerotic despite being shamefully homophobic.  The only big change is we went from physical abuse to mental and emotional abuse.  Much more effective.”

Q:  “How awesome is it that you get to use this stuff like every day?”
AR:  “I won’t lie, one of the best perks of the job is getting to drive this magnificent beast.”
IR”  “I fucking hate this piece of shit.  Its always deadlined, it leaks every fluid imaginable constantly, it stinks like sweaty grunt taints and puke, and I hope you die an extremely painful death.”

Q:  “How do you start this thing?”  (AAV)
AR:  “It can be a bit complicated, would you like to check out the turret?  It has guns…”
IR:  “Flip that big switch that says ‘Master’ then push the button that says ‘Start’ until it…uh, you know.  Starts.”

Q:  “How do you start this thing?”  (HMMV)
AR:  “Gosh, my Sergeant must have the keys…”
IR:  “Ha, check this out.  See that switch?  Turn it.  Boom, you just started it.  Now get the fuck out, I’m hitting the drive thru, biatch!”

Q:  “…”
AR:  (Smiles) “Good afternoon.”
IR:  “…What?  WHAT?  THE FUCK YOU LOOKIN’ AT?  I’LL FUCKING CUT YOU, MAN!  I’LL CUT YOU SO BAD, YOU’LL BE ALL LIKE, ‘MAN I REALLY WISH THAT GUY DIDN’T JUST CUT ME SO BAD!'”

After the civilians, generals, and other assorted riffraff leave, you are basically done with all of this stressful garbage.   Ha, I kid.  It is either dusk by now or full on darkness time, and you need to get that equipment back to its proper place, devil dog.  Also, it will need to be clean.  Duh.  Spend the rest of your Friday cleaning your shit and prepare to get fucked again, because you will probably be put on duty for causing the CO so much embarrassment by allowing your equipment to be in such horrific condition during a DnP.

Now go back to the bricks, hate your life, rinse with alcohol, repeat.

 

Submitted by “AAVPOG”

Okinawa Prison (Part 5)

Last time I left off I was being ushered by Cpl. Asshole to Battalion SncoIc to get me documented for underage drinking. I was documented in the green book and escorted back to my barracks room to pass out like a light. After I passed out at around 1200 I was awakened again at 0400 with kicks to the door and ordered to get in green on green, glowbelt and camelback to go out side for a PT run. We all got ready and went to the parking lot to form it up. I was not feeling good at all. I felt like I got ran over by a truck and I was very dehydrated and in no shape to go PT. Sgt. Nazi came out like a bat out of hell and started to talk all this kind of shit to us in formation. He was talking about stuff like “you motherfuckers are given an inch and take a mile,” he would walk up and down the formation like a drill instructor and say shit like “you are a fucking disgrace, you are an embarrassment to the MarineCorps, you are this, that etc etc.” He then called us to attention and said “Right Face!!!” We all knew what was coming next. “Forwaaaaard….March!” We knew that we were in for a long run because apparently I was not the only one that got caught underage drinking that weekend.

We take off running at around 0445. It was a hot Okinawa morning and it was very humid. The humidity of Okinawa is comparable to that of Vietnam or Thailand. It is always wet. You go outside to throw the trash out and you come back covered in sweat. It is not a place for those that are out of shape. In Okinawa you are two things. You are a drunk or you are a PT stud. Reason for that is that there is a lot of down time on base. You are stuck on base, there really is not that much work to do so the games and horseplay is increased by a bit. You could either sit in the barracks and play video games, watch movies, go to church, go to the PX, try to hit on a female Marine that already has a platoon of her own, or you could get stupid drunk or you can hit the gym and try to get as big and strong as you can get. Most Marines opted for the last two. A lot of Marines were drunks and a lot of Marines were PT studs. Sgt. Nazi was a definite PT stud as he always PT’d. He never warmed up just sprinted and sprinted for miles. He ran an 18 minute PFT but he also had endurance for days and he knew how to run Marines to the ground.

We take off running and Sgt. Nazi is sprinting. I already feel like shit after the first couple of feet and I feel like throwing up. After the first mile I cannot keep up and fall out. A lot of us fell out and Sgt. Nazi would just pick us up and take us on another sprint. We ended up sprinting for 6 miles and we were in formation getting our asses chewed again. Sgt. Nazi pulled me aside and started to chew my ass. I couldn’t take it anymore and I bent over and just puked everything that was in my stomach.

After the run it was ass chewing after ass chewing from the Cpl’s to the CO. It was the same rhetoric over and over “why did you guys drink, why did you guys drink, why did you guys drink?” Over and over. It turns out that six of us got caught that weekend underage drinking. I was not the only one. That week was hell as the 1st. Sgt and the CO would PT us to the dirt and make us do fieldays every day. We also had to do midnight formations in which we had to make accountability everyday at midnight. The next weekend four Marines got caught underage drinking and even one got arrested by PMO. Our Company was in it for this time. The Colonel had enough of us and proceeded to NJP us the next Monday.

We all stood outside the Company office. After we all signed our confession statements of the crimes that we committed. We were all guilty of consuming alcohol under the age of 21. It is okay to give your life up while you are under the age of 21 but it is not okay to consume the fermented beverages. Col. Maximus was not you average looking Colonel. He was around 6 foot 6, 240 pounds and he looked like Spock from Star Trek. He was know for burning Marines to the stake and we were ordered to stand outside the Company classroom. I could hear a lot of people in the classroom as if they were waiting for something big to happen. What they were waiting for was a public NJP. It was made public to show young Marines what happens when you disobey a direct order. Colonel Maximus arrives and orders Marines in. One by one the Lcpl’s turn into PFC’s and the PFC’s turn into PVT’s. I was one of the PFC’s that was busted down to private. I was ordered in and all the Marines from two companies were there to watch. I stepped in front of the Colonel and he followed to read my statement and accused me of the crime. He then proceeded to take my rank, my pay, and order me to 60 days restrictions with extra duties. We all stood outside the classroom and took our ranks off. I game my chevrons to the newly busted down PFC. As we all stood there we wondered how bad it was going to get. We had restriction to follow and we also had bullshit from our Company to put up with. It was going to get bad and it was just the tip of the ice berg.

Stay tuned for part 6

Submitted by: free_bird

Saved by An Act of Dumbassity

I was an AAV mechanic from 02-06.  Two years on Okinawa and one in the Stumps.  When I left the island they sent me stateside a month early because my next unit was supposed to be gearing up to deploy, but when I got there plans had been changed and they were getting ready to go to the Rock for “6” months and decided it would be better for me to stay in the Marine Corps’s sandy asshole to attend Corporal’s Course, which I understood seeing as how I was promoted to Cpl the day before I left Japan.

I never got to attend Corporal’s Course even after numerous attempts to get the rear-party CO (LT) to permit it.  My CWO, SNCOs, and Sgts all seemed to think it was the perfect time but according to the LT we wouldn’t have enough Marines to stand Duty at the barracks, so it would be better to wait until we got a couple more Corporals.  We didn’t.  We got five new guys from School Bn, one of whom was a Private with a severe alcohol problem and was basically waiting to get separated out.  Three Corporals meant barracks duty twice a week in addition to moto PT (MWF) and our actual jobs all while babysitting the dozen or so guys that were getting kicked out for various reasons and getting multiple ass chewings every day about our inability to micromanage the lives of these grown men.

The breaking point in my mind came a while after one of the guys awaiting his separation got caught doing something when it was drunk out and that LT lost his damned mind.  I am not exaggerating when I say he put us into full lock-down mode.  No civilian attire, field day every day for a week (until the Staff on Oki put an end to it when they found out he wasn’t even showing up to the inspections), uniform inspections, classes on alcohol and drug abuse, those goddamned formations at 2200 just to make sure everyone is there, and making us, no shit, recording in the green Duty Log when Marines entered and exited the lounge, duty hut, laundry room, and when they left and returned to their rooms.  There really is an official green duty log somewhere on file in the Stumps full of shit like, “2357 – Cpl XXXXXXX left the lounge, returned to his room to prepare for sleep,” “0423 – DNCO leaves Duty Hut to uirnate,” “0425 – DNCO returns to Duty Hut from urinating.”  This kind of ridiculous mass-punishment did no one any good at all.  Morale dropped noticeably by the day.

A few months later the LT seemed to be trying to make up for it by having a forced fun day at Six Flags, where absolutely no one wanted to waste their Saturday.  Some would think that your unit cannot “force” you to spend your cash on a ticket to an amusement park, but you would be wrong (try telling those fuckers you have no desire to attend the ball and watch them eye-fuck your soul before they lose their mind all over your face).  Going was almost better than the alternative, as that was going into work and completing the Financial Management MCI (yes, of course even if you’ve turned it in years ago)…because if you don’t want to go to Six Flags or don’t have the money to go, you obviously need to reevaluate your life, Devil Dog.  None of the Staff seemed to be able to do anything.  They obviously gave a shit because they were in constant communication with the guys on deployment, but they often said there was nothing they could do other than put up with it until the company made its glorious return.  We didn’t count on the separating guys to accidentally save us.

My Duty Hut smelled bad, like someone over-nuked a pile of frozen garlic bread.  It made me a little hungry so I asked the Duty Pfc to post for a few so I could drop a deuce and microwave us some burritos.  When I returned there was another DNCO grilling my DPfc about the stink, so we get to shooting the shit about how goddamned awful Twentynine is and fucking Comm School boots blah blah fuck Duty blah and he stops out of nowhere and laughs a little then says, “This is stupid, but one of my Marines says he smelled some weed.”  We both laughed a hearty “no fucking way” laugh and decided that from our combined pre-Marine Corps experience, that there was no way what we were smelling was good ole cannabis, shot a few more minutes worth of shit and he went away.

A short amount of moments passed and I was standing in the doorway of the lounge passively watching Wonder Showzen when the OOD popped in to do what OOD’s do when they are bored; check on the DNCO’s.  Reported all secure and all that happy horseshit and he, too, goes away, so I focus my attention back to my thoughts of freedom.  Within minutes he returns with the Duty from upstairs, whom looks completely horrified.  He interrupts the Magic Duty Dance immediately after he cuts his return salute and I’m mid sentence with, “Do you smell that?”

Completely confused for that excruciatingly long half-second, I respond with, “The burritos, sir?”

“No.  Pot,” he fires back.

“I believe it smelled like burnt garlic bread earlier, sir.  I don’t think we smelled any pot, though.”

The upstairs Duty’s next statement cloned my own, as did my DPfc’s, which of course, led to a round of questioning mostly pertaining to how we would have any idea what marijuana smelled like if we were active duty Marines.  Professionalism died a little that day as a silver bar, two Corporals, and a PFC laughing like drunk hyenas.  All of us casually agreed that whatever it was, it was definitely not marijuana.  However, he believed that we should post our DPfc’s and tour with him for Integrity’s sake.

If you have been up at 0anything on a Saturday when the OOD shows up, you know that if you are caught existing you will probably be snatched up for a quick police call or some other dumb shit.  Of course, almost no one would answer their door.  They must have either been passed out or off base, sir (chuckles).  The few that do answer are either boots that don’t know any better or smart terminals that crack their door with an open beer and a shit eating grin.

Unfortunately, one of our separating Marines temporarily blacked out that portion of the brain that tells you not to do something obviously stupid and he was outside of his room smoking a cigarette.  No big deal, “hey Devil, smoke pit.”  “Aye, Corporal.”  Thus was not the case this time around.  Had he shut his door, he would have never been caught and we would have been fucked for many more weeks until our company returned.

As he is walking away towards the smoke pit, the OOD catches a whiff of that burnt garlic bread stink and realizes where it was coming from:  This smoking Marine’s room.  He calls ole boy back over to us and asks him what he’s cooking.  Poor guy looked so confused it was almost a confession.  I tried to butt in with, “Is that garlic bread?” while the other Duty does the same as we both realize where this could go and how badly it could go for all of us if it turned out this dude had actually been stupid enough to burn weed in the barracks.  He told the OOD that he had been nuking some leftovers from the night before, and even pulled out some smelly ass, garlic-heavy shit from How-How’s (I think that was the name of the place) from the trash.  Waves of “holyfuckingshitthatwasclose” washed over us as the OOD laughed it off and allowed us to keep Dutying it up on our own.  For a while.

An hour later PMO rolls up with a fucking K9.  I don’t know the details because I’ve been told everything from the OOD causally joking about it and someone overreacting to some random visiting girlfriend calling PMO from her cell in one of the rooms, but somehow they got involved and shit got real.  Fast.

Unwritten SOP was that if PMO ever pulls into the barracks, you get that SDO on the phone and to the barracks NOW.  DPfc knew this and was frantically punching numbers and screaming at the SDO’s Dpfc to “get him the fuck down here PMO!  PMO! K9’s!  Shits going down, son!” as I was greeting the OOD (of course, without the ‘all secure,’ shit was obviously not secure) and Sgt. 5-0 and his buddy Cpl. K9.  Shit was halted on the spot until SDO pulled in ready to rip souls from bodies.  Doors were assaulted with fists and voices, then more intelligently, the correct keys, until every Marine in the building was made aware of the search.  Door to door they sniffed, starting on the bottom deck.  They only made it through a few rooms before that puppy signaled Cpl K9 that he smelled some of that sweet, sweet plant material.  Wall lockers were opened, cabinets were thrown open and emptied, drawers pulled out, and general chaos was unleashed upon this poor guy’s room.  And the didn’t find shit.  PMO take off, OOD tours by himself for a few minutes, and the SDO and I are talking to the Marine who’s room was destroyed.

I can’t say that I was close to this guy or even that I was a good friend of his.  I can say that even if his heart wasn’t in the Marine Corps anymore, he was still one hell of a great guy to be around.  He was that ultra-laid back dude in your unit that never lost his shit because he didn’t seem to have one to give in the first place.  He knew that the civilian world could be just as bad, if not worse, than life in the Corps because he had been there, so he never really complained much no matter how bad shit got.  That day, though, proved to be too much.

Once the OOD and PMO were out of earshot, he looked the SDO in the eye and told him that he had just smoked a little joint in the bathroom right before they rolled in.  His deadpan expression made this at first seem like a joke, but he didn’t laugh.  No one laughed.  We followed him to the head where he pulled out a small metal ashtray with the tiniest joint roach I have ever seen perched on one of the corners.  This guy was already getting separated and didn’t have to tell on himself, but he did.  I don’t know if he wanted to help facilitate his early release, to get out of going to the field that next week, add time on from the new paperwork that would have to be filled out, if he internally lost it for a few moments, or if he had a very interesting take on integrity.

If he would have told me, I don’t know if I would have turned him in, and I think he knew that.  He knew I had a bit of disdain for the guys that were getting kicked out, as well as a good amount of apathy.  I think that is why he told the SDO, so that he would be forced to follow through with procedure.  The SDO wasn’t really all that mad, though.  He seemed to be amused by the fact that the K9 couldn’t find a roach and impressed by the guy’s honesty, albeit maybe a bit misplaced given his situation.  As it would turn out, that situation saved us a lot of hassle over the next few weeks.

We couldn’t be locked down any harder than we already were, so there really wasn’t anything further the LT could do to us as punishment for allowing one of his Marines to momentarily exercise free will.  It didn’t matter, though.  Enlisted men sometimes speak in hushed tones of a mystical act of nature referred to as “relieved of command.”  It is not known to me if this is truly what happened to our temporary commander, or if he let the CWO and staff take over while he disappeared into his hobbit hole (or whatever officers live in.)  Life quickly got exponentially better for a while.

This of course led to company-wide piss tests.  I don’t know if it is true but I was told even the Marines ACROSS THE FUCKING OCEAN had to drop trou and push a few drops out as well.  Yes, there were more NJP’s.

The extreme knee-jerk reactions are what killed the last of my will to reenlist.  Okinawa was bad enough with their Liberty Cards, ORM worksheets every weekend regardless of if we left base, libo buddies and games, I was not going to be treated like a prisoner while on the very soil I was supposed to be giving my youth for.  I no longer wanted to be part of an organization that refuses to train Marines that want to be leaders by making excuses about not having enough fucking Duty NCO’s.  I no longer wanted to be part of an organization that allowed “leaders” to turn their subordinates into micromanaged slaves with absolutely no freedom simply because one of them fucked up all by himself.  I wanted no part in an organization that is so cripplingly bureaucratic that they put their most educated Marines in jobs that have nothing to do with their training because “we need an NCO to fill that slot.”(like putting your Duty Expert mechanic as the Haz-Mat guy, Safety NCO, SACO, etc.)  I couldn’t stand the thought of staying in an organization that doesn’t allow individuals that are detrimental to morale and safety to get the fuck out and allow our units to train, evolve, and function properly without having to allot hours for full-time adult baby-sitting personnel.  When the reenlistment man came a-knockin’ on my door, he already knew better than to hand me a package and had a beer with me instead.

Submitted by: AAVPOG

Okinawa Prison (Part 4)

Now last time I wrote about Okinawa, there were a lot of rules and implementations that had to be followed. The protocol here was a lot more strict since we were in another country and the threat condition was always in high alert. The garrison here to say the least was in full throttle and Marines would constantly get harassed for not cutting their hair on Sunday, having chipped chevrons, having Irish pennants, having a five o’clock shadow at 0500 before a PT run. Marines would even get charged if they had white socks in their boots. Marine Corps life on Okinawa was all about looks and detail and physical fitness.

 

There was also one thing in Okinawa that wasn’t really mentioned, enforced or corrected. There was a high case of RHIP (Rank Has it’s Privilege). On Okinawa if you were E-3 and below you were the equivalent of a slave that made the pyramids of Giza. If you were an NCO you were like a politician. SNCO’s were like kings and queens. And Officers were like the god’s that were worshiped. One thing that I don’t mind when following rules is when the one’s enforcing them set the example. What I do have a problem with is the one’s that are supposed to set the example do the total opposite and break the rules right in front of you, but they expect it to be okay due to the fact that they had the rank and the privilege. Don’t Marines lead by example? Does not the term “steel sharpens steel” take effect when telling Marines not to underage drink, have females in the barracks, be out past curfew?

 

In my company, the kings (NCO’s) were a handful, but a handful that knew how to use it’s power to the fullest. I’ll introduce you to them, our platoon Sergeant, lets call him Sgt. Burn, was a Marine that spent his whole career in division and knew how to fuck with Marines and punish them. The other Sergeant was Sgt. Nazi, this Sergeant was not stupid, he was quite intelligent. But like a lot of Marines wanting to show off their power, he was a burn happy Sergeant that would use his intellect to catch you doing something illegal and burn you to the stake for it (kind of like he was hoping to catch you). We had Cpl. Asshole, this Marine was a big rule breaker and he just got busted down from Sergeant for cheating on his wife and he was on a mission to burn Marines. The other three Corporals were Cpl. Lovehandles, this Corporal was a piece of work as he was a fat body that could not PT for shit, but yet he was trying to make up for his lack of fitness with being extremely anal retentive and looking for dirt in your room. And  you had Cpl. Briggs, this Marine was a true hater, a southern redneck, and a true to heart racist. And not to forget we had Cpl. DirtySanchez, this Marine was an underage NCO that would constantly underage drink and be off base past midnight constantly.

 

Rule breaking was very common in Okinawa. For example Sgt. Burn would have his Japanese girlfriend spend the nights in his barracks room constantly (that was against the rules). Sgt. Nazi would constantly be hazing his Marines and making them do stupid shit like IP their uniforms on the weekends, work through chow, he would fuck his female Marine girlfriend in the barracks (illegal) and would constantly have liquor in his room (illegal). Cpl. Asshole would put his hands on Marines when they were drunk, and he would go to other barracks of nearby companies to fuck their female Pfc’s and Lcpl’s (also illegal, something about fraternization or some shit) and he would constantly barge in junior Marine’s rooms without permission and start shit. Cpl. Lovehandles was a piece of work. This guy was fat as fuck and he would always be in trouble with the company higher ups because he would not lose weight and he looked like crap in his uniforms (not trying to sound motard, but he looked shitty) and he would fall out of every single PT run (again not leading by example). Cpl. Dirtysanchez was a 20 year old Marine that would always hang out with his best friend who was a Lclp. (again fraternization) and they would always go out in town and underage drink, stay past midnight and bring their girls back to the barracks with liquor bottles. And finally, my favorite was Cpl. Briggs, we knew to stay away from this guy, especially if you were not white (I am of Latin descent ) as he was always plotting a way to get you in trouble to burn you, not to correct you, but simply to hurt you. Especially if you were a minority.

 

One thing I noticed as I got to this shady unit was how all of the NCO’s had their preference when dealing with junior Marines. They had their little buddies. They had their little pets. If you were a woman, then automatically you were on their good side as they viewed you as someone that can give them something (sex). I noticed that all the rules of not underage drinking were being broken all the time. I would constantly see these pets (preferred juniors) drunk, and underage. I would constantly see these people partying in the pavilion and drinking with each other. I would constantly see Marines (junior and senior) jump the fence after midnight with their Japanese girlfriend’s.

 

As a little background about myself, I am of Latin descent. In my culture we like to drink from time to time. I grew up like that. When I joined the MarineCorps my alcoholism increased due to the stress and always watching people around you drinking and having fun. When I got to Okinawa I was 19 and strictly ordered not to drink. But it is hard to do especially when you see people stumbling down the hallway with a bottle of Jim Beam in one hand. It was hard to do when you would walk down the hallway and you would see Marines holding another Marine upside down while he’s drinking from a keg and everyone is shouting “chug, chug, chug!” I couldn’t take it anymore and thought to myself, “well, if he can do it, then I can do it.”

 

I was bored on one of the few days off that we had and I decided to go visit another Marine in another barracks. This Marine was of age and he pulled out a bottle of liquor and offered me a drink so that we could have a conversation heart to heart. After the bottle was finished I was tired enough to go back to my barracks room and go to sleep at around 2130. I made it up to the fourth deck, into my room, into my rack and I went to sleep.

 

Cpl. Asshole had a problem that day. I think Cpl. Asshole’s ex wife (Mrs. Asshole) gave him a wrong phone call or a wrong letter and he was hurt. Cpl. Asshole was drunk as a skunk as well and he was on a mission to destroy Marines with his wrath. Cpl. Asshole started going down the hallways drop kicking doors open to start shit with junior Marines, he would “Spartan kick” the doors wide open and make Marines that were watching T.V., playing video games, reading etc. To stop what they were doing, stand at parade rest and recite the general orders. If Marines failed to recite all of the orders they were ordered to fielday, get in their Charlies, do push ups etc.

 

My room was the last one on the deck and my room was going to eventually get kicked open and we were going to get fucked with. Now I don’t know how you guy’s react to being rudely awakened after a couple of shots of hard liquor but it is not fun. You are distorted and cannot think very well. Kind of like a bad dream. My other roommates were not in the room at the time and I was sound asleep in my bed. “BOOM!” Was the sound that I heard in my half awake, half asleep state of mind. “GET THE FUCK UP PFC!” Is what I remember hearing. I thought I was in a bad dream and could not properly respond to a stranger in the dark. “STAND AT FUCKING PARADE REST!” Is what I heard in the concoction of words with a southern accent. “YOU’RE COMING WITH ME!” Is the last thing I understood.

 

So what happened was Cpl. Asshole kicked my door open and he saw that I did not wake up immediately. He proceeded to keep screaming at me and kicked me in the back and I still did not wake up. When I finally woke up he saw that I was drunk and then he decided to play “Marine” this time. He told me to get dressed. He didn’t walk me to the Sergeant. He didn’t walk me to the duty NCO at the bottom of the barracks. No, he told me to get dressed, he took me outside of the barracks and walked me straight the whole two miles to Battalion with the Staff Duty SNCO to get me documented for underage drinking and get me NJP’d. He took me to where the “birdman” worked. He took me to a Staff Sergeant that just got off the drill field and was wearing a crisp, clean high and tight. Cpl. Asshole wanted to make sure that I got burned to the stake.

 

Stay tuned for part 5 of my Okinawa Prison when I saw Col. Maximus and got the ultimate punishment. The deared and feared  NinJaPunch on Okinawa.

Broken Down, But Never Built Back Up

I know my grammar might not be great but I’m not really worried about that right now. I spent 8 months in Boot Camp, watched my original platoon graduate without me, and it feels that I haven’t really moved on from boot camp.

I joined in 2006 and the first week of boot camp I don’t remember taking a shit, the first time I ever pissed in my bed while sleeping, and just felt terrorized. I got through the first say 3 weeks and I got sick with pneumonia and didn’t wake up with the rest of the platoon on time. The DI shoved me off the top rack and I hit the floor, went to the hospital, and got dropped and put into MRP. From then on I got sick multiple time with bronchitis and pneumonia back and forth because I was around it all the time. The 3rd month I was called to clean on the other side of the parade deck, and that’s where I got to watch my platoon and the company while cleaning the windows.

Shortly after I was placed in a company just before going Phase 2. I had gotten pneumonia again a couple weeks after being with that company. Dropped again, got better, and joined another. During our physical training I had touched my face and 4 DI’s came over and started screaming in my face, I couldn’t understand what they were saying at all, was being spit in my face by all of them, burning my eyes and dangling from my chin with pain in my inner ear from the volume. I remember after doing a run with our gear on I slipped and fell on the stairs, a DI grabbed me pulled me up to our barracks, and I was forced to drink water from a disgusting canteen over and over again. I couldn’t drink anymore and threw it up all over the place in the middle of the DI highway where I was. I had to clean it up and by that time the day was over, needless to say I had 3 night watches that night. I woke up and started getting dressed and a DI came over and slammed my head into the metal rack. I was punched in the gut I would say 3 or 4 times in my time there, I’m talking full punches with their arm swung back all the way.

Anyways I got through Phase 2 and got dropped again for bronchitis. I just didn’t have any will left, I was depressed and I just felt like I couldn’t got on anymore. Then I got a infected ingrown toenail and before lights out when the DI’s inspect you he saw it and put his heel on my toe and pushed down. He asked if that hurt and I said no with tears coming out of my eyes, I later was taken to the hospital where they put 3 shots in my toe to numb it before taking it out. The guy took some scissors and started cutting down the middle and I screamed with pain cuz I could still feel, after 3 more shots it was removed. I got back with another company and finished phase 3 without my blue’s because something was going on I don’t know I was never told. During the ceremony I never felt better, I never felt like I accomplished anything. I have never said Oorah because I just never wanted to, even when people say it to me nowadays. I regret ever going and I wish it never happened. My toe nail grows with a space in between the nail and it just reminds me of the pain everyday. I’m not saying that I got it worse or better, this is just what happened to me.

After boot camp the hazing never stopped and eventually I did a tour in Iraq. We returned to Iowa, and I never went back, I quit. I was given an Other than Honorable Discharge. I wrote this because someone got in my face yesterday and I just had a breakdown, so I had to get this out somehow. Thanks for reading and excusing my writing skills…

 

Submitted by “Michael Power”

My worst experience in the MC was training.

I have to say by far my worst experience was in the Marine Corps was the training. All the way from basic to my job school, after that it was pretty chill once I hit the fleet but still had to deal with some stupid bullshit. I still have nightmares about my horrible experience at boot camp at the hands of other recruits, all because I got dropped for an injury and had to pick up with another platoon halfway through. From the first day I was bullied and later got jumped in the shower room after they wanted to “talk” because I didn’t get tasks done fast enough, after that me and others who had picked up with me (they experienced the same things I did) and did everything in our power to get the platoon fucked up on purpose until the drill instructors caught on to what we were doing and left us alone. At the end I personally told the ones I hated most that I hoped that if I ever saw them again they would pay.

At MCT I got my chance, while there one of the assholes that was in my basic platoon was in the same unit I was. I mostly avoided him the whole time but on the last hump he found me and started the same bullshit trying to bully me, I was too busy helping my friends to grind on to pay any attention to him. However on the cool down march the way back to the barracks he started making fun of the fact I was tired (who wasn’t after so many miles?). Finally I had had enough and unslung my rifle from my shoulder and slammed my rifle butt into his face knocking his ass to the ground, not caring who saw it. I was just happy with the fact I got my revenge but the best part was my sergeant saw and heard the whole thing. He separated us and told the other guy to pick himself up and that was the end of it. No NJP, no repercussions and I never saw that prick again but man it felt good!

Submitted by: TP

Questions To Ask Your Recruiter

Here on iHateTheUSMC.com we’ve quite often potential recruits come to this site saying something to the effect of “I’m thinking about joining the marines, is it really worth it?”. We’ve also had a few “motivated” marines come here saying “If you want to hear what the marine corps is really like, don’t come to a site called “iHateTheUSMC”! Go get a balanced opinion!” While I think our site does a pretty good job of being balanced and truthful, I agree that you shouldn’t have to just take our word for it.

To that end, I’ve compiled this list of questions that any potential recruit for any branch of the military should ask their recruiter before joining. I’ve organized the questions by category; however, be advised that there are some questions that overlap and could fit into multiple categories. Also, with many of the questions (especially #4) the actual answer your recruiter gives you is less important than the way your recruiter behaves while answering. If he’s visibly struggling to answer some questions (i.e. #13 and it’s Follow-up Questions) the odds are pretty good that he knows that the corps messed up, so he was going to paint a one-sided picture and get you to enlist based on propaganda instead of fact. The moral of the story, pay close attention both to what your recruiter says, and how he says it.

That  being said, here’s a list of some questions you can ask your recruiter (from any branch) to help you make your decision:

Questions About The Quality of People In The Marine Corps:

1. “There are two predominant images of marines in popular culture: They’re either swashbuckling womanizers that drink a lot or they are disciplined and elite shock troops that hone their craft of war-fighting all the time. They can’t be both of these, so which is it?”
2. “I’ve heard  that more marines die each year from vehicle accidents than from gunfire. Why is that?”
3. “Is it true that most people join the marine corps for patriotic service, but remain in for financial security?”
4. “Are female marines girlfriend/wife material?”
[Note: This is one the cases where the literal answer to your question doesn’t matter. The point of this question is to see if your recruiter turns into a sexist POS when asked about female marines. If so, I think you’ve learned all you need to know about the type of people in the marine corps.]
5. “Why is the divorce rate in the marine corps so much higher than that of other branches?”
6. “What is a motard?”
7. “Is it true that marines don’t steal? Then why are marines required to keep their doors locked, and the wall lockers inside their rooms padlocked? Who are they trying to keep out if it’s not other marines?”
8. “When I get out of boot camp, how many times a day will I hear my superiors complaining about the good old days in the “Old Corps” when they didn’t need to try to be a good leader because they could just beat the shit out of anyone who didn’t perform to their standards?”
9. “Is it true that it’s harder to be kicked out of boot camp than it is to graduate?”
Follow-up Questions: “Is it true that you have three chances to pass any boot camp graduation requirement before you’ll even be dropped back a week in training?” “Is it true that – if you injure yourself – you can be kept in a medical rehabilitation platoon (MRP) for a year until you recover enough to be put back into training?” “Is it true that you don’t actually have to complete any of the obstacles in the Crucible in order to graduate? Is it really the case that, if you don’t get severely injured, you’ll automatically pass?” “Is it true that your D.I.’s will do anything in their power to prevent you from being kicked out, even if you clearly don’t want to be there, clearly aren’t a good fit for the marine corps, and are consistently failing graduation requirements?” “What does it say about the quality of people in the marine corps, that many marines are being forced to continue even though they lost interest back in boot camp? Is that really a recipe for an elite force? Or is it more a recipe for a mediocre force of people who are trying to make the best of it, but would rather be anywhere else than in the marine corps?”

Questions About Life In The Marine Corps:

10. “How will I be treated as a new-join after boot camp? I’ll be treated with dignity and respect right? The normal rules of decency and adult behavior will still apply, right? I ask this because I’d like to be sure that I’ll be treated like a first-class citizen.”
11. “Once I get to the fleet it’s a normal 8-4 job right? I won’t ever have to work weekends, right? I won’t ever have to wake up at 5:00 in the morning just to go running would I? How often would I have to  wake up early and/or work on a weekend?”
12. “I understand that as the new guy I’ll usually be tasked to some of the less glamorous jobs in the corps, but they’ll at least be meaningful jobs right? I won’t be called up to the Battalion office because the Sgt Maj is too lazy to take out his own trash right?”
13. “What is a Weekend Safety Brief?”
Follow-up Questions: “Will I really be expected to stand there every Friday afternoon as my Commanding Officer tells me ‘wear you seatbelt, don’t drink and drive, don’t rape people… etc’?” “Will I really be expected to fill out an ‘ORM worksheet’ where I tell my command what  I plan to do this weekend, what the potential hazards are, and how I plan to mitigate those risks?” “Will I really have to have a superior inspect my car every Friday before I’m allowed to leave?” “Will some units actually expect me to sign a piece of paper stating that I won’t kill myself over the weekend before I’m allowed to be released from work?” “Why is it necessary to have such a paperwork circus performed every Friday afternoon? Is it that marines are conditioned to forgo their common sense to such an extent that they need to be reminded on a regular basis not to do anything stupid over the weekend?”
14. “What is a Safety Stand Down? Will I really have to sit through a PowerPoint presentation every year where my superiors explain that raping people is bad?”
15. “I’ve heard that they will take the money for meals at the Mess Hall directly out of my paycheck each month. So I am assuming that I’ll be guaranteed the opportunity to go eat those meals, since I already paid for them, right?”
16. “I like to put my hands in my pockets from time to time. Will that be a problem in the Marine Corps? What if I’m just standing there, not walking around?”
17. “If I get sick overnight and ask my supervisor to go to medical the next morning, is he going to ridicule me merely because I require medical attention?”
18. “If I wanted to bring a guest to visit me in the barracks, will there be restrictions? Am I allowed to bring people of the opposite sex into my room?”
19. “Will I get my own room in the barracks? How many roommates might I have? Roughly how big are the rooms? A rough estimate is fine.”
20. “I understand that the marine corps has a strict underage drinking policy, but once I’m 21, is the amount of alcohol I keep in my room going to be limited or restricted in any way?”
21. “I understand that I will be held accountable for my inevitable mistakes, and I agree with that, but is everyone around me going to be held accountable for my inevitable mistakes as well? Conversely, will I be held accountable for mistakes that others make, even though I couldn’t possibly have prevented them?”

Questions About The Marine Corps As An Institution:

22. “Aside from boot camp and the cool uniforms, why is the Marine Corps better than the other branches? Be specific. I stopped playing with my GI Joes over 10 years ago have no desire to fulfill any boyhood fantasies or play soldier. Are they smarter? Is their technology better? Is there greater retainment on account of more variety in their career options? What is it, EXACTLY?”
23. “How is “Hazing” defined by the UCMJ (Uniform Code of Military Justice)? Will my supervisors in the fleet find ways to bend the rules prohibiting hazing?”
24. “I’ve heard that it’s illegal for marines to take reprisals against a marine for Requesting Mast (reporting problems to the Commanding Officer and asking that they be fixed). Is that enforced, or will my superiors use intimidation and the threat of retaliation to prevent me from (or punish me for) reporting wrongdoings to my Commanding Officer?”
25. “Since the marine corps is a military institution, am I correct in assuming that all necessary deployment-related gear will be issued to me free of cost? I won’t be required to purchase a bunch of gear like ear-plugs, parachute chord, a rape whistle, an assortment of batteries, or a giant safety pin, right? If I need it, it’ll be given to me and that’s it, right?”
26. “What is the quality of healthcare provided by the USMC? Is it true that a Navy Corpsman’s (medic’s) job doesn’t translate to any civilian medical career?”
27. “Do we get hazard pay for working around hazardous material?”
28. “Drilling and marching formations were a crucial component of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars, but now they’re completely obsolete. When I get to the fleet, am I going to hear some SNCO screaming at the top of his lungs about cover and alignment in a PT formation?”
29. “Reveille, Taps, and Mess Call used to be very important in signaling that it is time to wake up, time to eat, and time for lights out respectively; but in this age of alarm clocks and wristwatches, they’re also completely obsolete. When I get to the fleet will I really have to hear Reveille and Taps play every single day at 5:30 am and 10:00 pm respectively, and Mess Call played every single day at 6:00 am, 11:00 am, and 5:00 pm to the point where hearing those bugle calls becomes absolutely ear-shattering?”

Questions About Promotion:

30. “I’ve heard that Proficiency and Conduct Markings play a large role in being promoted to the ranks of Corporal and Sergeant. How familiar are SNCO’s and Officers with the guidelines for assigning these markings? Are the guidelines rigidly adhered to, or is the system that determines pro/con marks more based on whether I suck up to my superiors?”
31. “I’ve heard that my Rifle score and Physical/Combat Fitness scores also play a pretty big role in being promoted to Corporal and Sergeant. Does the marine corps have a system in place to make sure that they’re putting bright, intelligent, leaders into high ranking positions, or can any idiot become a Sgt Maj as long as he can do enough pull-ups?”
32. “I’ve heard that you have to take several Marine Corps Institute (MCI) courses (such as Leading Marines, Warfighting Tactics, Basic Grammar, etc) with proctored exams, prior to being promoted to Corporal and Sergeant  to try to prevent complete idiots from becoming NCOs. Is it true that everyone cheats on the tests by taking them in their rooms, with the book in front of them? Is it true that you couldn’t  even get a proctor if you asked your unit for one, because the unit is so used to turning a blind eye to cheating that they don’t even have an MCI proctor?”
33. “The promotion system is exactly the same for every Marine, right? How does the promotion system change?”

Questions About Your Superiors:

34. “Since the marine corps puts so much emphasis on leadership, am I correct in assuming that senior marines are very capable, competent, and efficient leaders who are able to easily adapt to any situation?”
Follow-up Questions: “My superiors wouldn’t prevent me from wearing cold weather gear during winter on the grounds that it was colder in winters of the Korean war right?” “My superiors wouldn’t order me to move entire pallets of gear by hand when there are a dozen forklifts sitting right in the heavy equipment lot on the grounds that ‘We didn’t use forklifts to move gear when I was a PFC!’ right?” “Since leaders in marine corps are so efficient, I won’t usually be sitting there with nothing to do all morning, and then have so much work levied on me in the afternoon that I will be stuck at work well into the evening, right?”
35. “Since I’m always being told how I’ll be serving my country, and protecting freedom, I should go to bed each night with a sense that I’ve really accomplished something right? I won’t feel like my biggest transferable job skill is adeptness at being a janitor, right? I won’t have days – or in fact whole weeks – where I don’t accomplish anything except mindless busy work, right?
36. “Since I’m younger, and less experienced, my seniors will handle most of the more hazardous jobs initially, right? I can be certain that I won’t be placed in harm’s way, such as the pointman of a fireteam as soon as I enter the fleet, right? They’ll at least make sure that I’ve had the chance to learn by observing more experienced marines first, right?”

Questions About Cleaning:

37. “How long does Field Day (weekly barracks cleaning) usually last in the fleet? 1 hour? 3 hours? 6+ hours?
Follow-up Question: “What’s the longest you’ve ever spent cleaning?”
38. “Will I really have NCO’s telling me that cleaning my window sill with a Q-tip will make me better prepared for combat?”
39. “Can I really be denied my weekend if someone decides that my room isn’t clean enough for their standards (fails inspection)?”
Follow-up Questions: “Can my room really fail inspection if I have water in my sink? If there’s water in my shower? If there’s trash in my trash can? If the edges of my rug aren’t duct taped to the floor?
40. “I don’t smoke. Since the marine corps is all about being responsible for yourself, I won’t be ordered to walk around the barracks and pick up all of the smokers’ cigarette butts right?”
41. “A marine on Barracks Duty won’t wake me up on a Saturday morning to pick up cigarette butts, or mop the floor, right?”
42. “How long does cleaning the shop take at the end of the day? Just an estimate will be fine. A half of an hour, maybe? Or are we talking about 4 or 5 hours of cleaning and re-cleaning the same spot over and over again until the 1st Sgt releases us to barely make it to the Mess Hall in time for dinner? That’s a direct question, and I’m asking you to give me a straight answer because I don’t like wasting my time.”

Questions About Your Recruiter’s Experience:

43. “Are you a happy individual?”
44. “Would you please describe your worst day in the Corps? You can’t possibly be this optimistic all the time. It makes me think you’re not being completely honest.”
45. “Do you have a quota of marines you need to enlist? How many people do you have to enlist? What happens if you don’t make your quota?”

Bonus Questions Just To Troll Your Recruiter:

46.”So . . . when did you slay your first dragon? Do you get another dragon every time you get promoted or is that a one-time deal?”
47. “On some days, when you wake up, are you ever reminded of your slave status by seeing that ridiculous haircut in the mirror?”
48. “Why do I get the feeling that you’re completely full of shit and that if I’m not careful I could make a serious error by believing you?”
49. “Why is it that most times when I see a Marine, he’s very excited about something but has no idea what’s going on or why he’s there? He reminds me of a puppy – a very excited but clueless puppy. Am I going to be trained to behave that way?”

Bonus Question – The Integrity Test:

50. Sit down to the table with your recruiter, take out a voice recorder, set it on the table in plain view, and turn it on.  Ask your recruiter any questions you like (They don’t have to be from this list, they can be any questions you want). At the end of your interview, turn to your recruiter and say “Since the marine corps is all about honor and integrity, my last question is as follows: If I join the marine corps based on what you tell me here today, and it turns out that you’ve lied to me, and the marine corps doesn’t live up to its reputation, can I be separated in 72 hours, and will you put this in writing?” As far as the marine corps is concerned, if you don’t get it in writing, it didn’t happen. So if your recruiter won’t get it put in writing, the he has no reason to be honest with you.

Think about it, if there are absolutely no repercussions if either the recruiter or the marine corps, lie to you, or fail to live up to its image, then what incentive does the recruiter have to be honest? If he won’t put it in writing then why would you think he was being honest? If the marine corps doesn’t allow such repercussions for failing to live up to its image, what is there preventing it from abusing you and deliberately putting you in unnecessary danger?

If you ask your recruiter some or all of the questions listed here, you will likely go in to the marine corps (or stay out of the marine corps) having a much better knowledge of what will be waiting for you in the fleet.  There will probably always be marines offering their experience on iHateTheUSMC.com, but as I said above, don’t take our word for it, go ask your recruiter.

Safety and Peace

The Sand Castle Blues, Part 5- Yut-Yut Midshipman


[People I know are in this picture. I am not in this, that or I can’t pick myself apart from all the knobs. Pretty common problem actually.]

And now we get to the article you have all been waiting for,  where I break down the Citadel’s NROTC program! Going for a commission via NROTC is considered the wiser, safer, less horseshit way of becoming a US Marine, versus just enlisting. Other than going to OCS or PLC, it’s the most popular route to a commission. Now, units and lifestyle vary. Someone who went to Partyville State Bro college is not gonna have exactly the same type of midshipman experience I did, for obvious reasons. But the doctrine and scope of training is the same, so here’s my perspective on things.

As stated before, I went to the Citadel with an NROTC, Marine option scholarship. I was therefore a midshipman in the naval reserve, paid a lovely 250 dollar stipend each month along with a book allowance and tuition paid for. I was one of 8 freshmen to get in with this, and we were given a ribbon to wear on our uniforms with an EGA on it. Your feeling of accomplishment and distinction goes away when you recall what I’ve said in previous articles about standing out at a school like the Citadel. Having that ribbon makes you a target, makes it easier for upperclassmen to pick you out and pick on you, whether out of jealousy for your scholarship or because they are service snobs and don’t like Marines. Even though I earned that ribbon, cadre would punish me for uniform imperfection by ordering me to take it off. Upperclass who were midshipmen heard about this and told me to disregard such orders, as well as not bracing while in Marine Corps issued uniforms. It was an unresolved back and forth between Marine uppers and non marine contracts, wasn’t much I could do about it.

All cadets with a scholarship(often referred to as a contract) are in ROTC, but not all cadets in ROTC are contracting. If you aren’t going for a contract, it is just a one credit hour class, and a fairly easy one. Death by powerpoint, and the tests are easy as hell. We spent a month worth of classes watching some british mini series about the royal navy, and even though they turned the lights off, the navy LT who taught my class would get on you for trying to get some needed sleep during the movie.

If you have to commission, and it has to be the Citadel, do it as an enlisted MECEP. From what I understood, they didn’t have to be knobs, or live on campus as part of the Corps of Cadets.  All they had to deal with was classes, and typical Marine Corps bs.

If you are a MECEP,contract or wanting one, you have to be involved in the NROTC’s so called “Marine Contingent”.  It’s organized as a company with five platoons, each from a different SCCC battallion. Its chain of command muddies the water with the Corps of Cadets. A guy who has no position in the Corps might be a platoon leader in the marine unit, for instance. Our contingent 1st Sergeant was also my cadre CO.

Being in the contingent required your participation in 3 PT sessions a week at 0500, which  earned you minor scorn back at battalion from knobs who were still sweeping galleries while you took a shower after PT. Every thursday from 4 till before dinner mess(if lucky) you had a “lab”, where the unit formed up on the parade field and usually did something physical or had a class on land nav and formations, Physical activities ranged from fun stuff, like obstacle/endurance courses, to hum drum like CFT’s. We also went on conditioning hikes with packs, I forget how much weight it was but it was heavy as hell. Upperclassmen had priority when getting issued the more ergonomical and newer gear, I had some old BDU color pack thing from the 80’s. The army rucked more than us, but their gear was either a lot better designed or they didn’t carry as much on their backs. When hiking they also seemed a lot less supervised and like they were going on a nice little stroll, objectively speaking we humped harder than they did.

The closest we recieved to tactical training was low budget to say the least. We learned how to give covering fire and advance in groups of two(I’m up-they see-me I’m down- type shit), while wielding imaginary rifles and making gun noises with our mouths.  We once did squad formations, also with imaginary weapons, and very rarely we pulled out rubber duck m16’s. I would see the army guys training at the same time as us, they always had really cool looking rubber guns, they even had eastern bloc replica weapons and RPG’s and would set up make shift bunkers with camo netting. It always looked like they had the money to do stuff we wanted to do but had to play pretend with. We once learned room clearing, where the walls  and boundaries of rooms were denoted by ropes on the grass laid out in squares. Real exciting stuff.

Occasionally we would have a classroom instruction period during lab before we put skills into practice. These usually consisted of some motivator sergeant or corporal, MECEPs most likely, giving us a powerpoint about squad and fireteam formations or about land nav.  These marines had the impression that we were probably not very smart or able to focus on something for more than a few minutes at a time. They would make deprecating jokes about how this was all boring and hard but we had to bear with it, as if it was calculus or something. They would have us stand up and stretch every 15-20 minutes. I was, you know, a college student, and didn’t have a problem sitting still and taking notes. I don’t get why everyone else would, but sure enough even college officer candidates live up to the stereotype of the dumb, muscular marine who isn’t book smart.

The land nav classes in particular were a huge let down for me, because they were EXACTLY the same as the ones I had done for four years in JROTC. Exactly the same outdated map of fort benning with the same locations to find, exact same powerpoint we used in high school.  At least I could say I knew what I was doing, unlike a lot of the clueless fellow officer candidates who were scratching their ape brains about azimuths and such.

One to three FTX exercises are held during semester. They take up one to three days. Mine was 2 days and a night bivouac in Charleston Naval Weapons Station in september. Pictures of FTX on the contingent’s website sold me the most on going to the Citadel over other schools, so I was surprised to find out I hated every second of it. We built fighting holes, rucked like 9 miles, did a landnav exercise. It rained and was miserable, I had at least an inch deep puddle of sweat in my boots at one point, how humid it was.

The culture of the ROTC unit is a lot less hostile than in the SCCC. 4th class system isn’t in effect during training, so its the only time upperclassmen don’t make you act like a retard and treat you like a person. The Marine officer instructors(MOI and AMOI, latter is an SNCO, gunnies usually) were professional and polite. But being in a Marine Corps environment, I did witness some of the stupidity described by others on this site. Our unit platoon sergeant got racked out by some motivator NCO, and so he came to us and in his most exasperated sarcasm, apologized for being such a horrible leader. That he would fail to set the example by having missed a notch on his belt or some such, he had lapsed in his integrity, he hoped we would all forgive him for being such a poor example and shaming the Marine Corps and the Citadel.

A few stories for you of douchebaggery. I always figured it was the Citadel’s culture contaminating the unit, but knowing what I do now, the Marine Corps is certainly capable of negative experiences such as these:
During a timed 3 mile run, I did what I was wont to do in cross country in high school. As people started catching up to me or passing me, this would motivate me to push it and speed back up to beat them. One particular motard saw this and racked me out for doing it, something like ” Oh hey bitch you’re not gonna put out all the way when people aren’t around huh”. Another time we were running on a track. We had a motto in cross country, “finish strong”. I would pour out whatever was left in me for the last leg of the journey. My unit squad leader yelled at me for doing this, saying I should have been running that hard the entire time. Well, shoot, maybe next time I will just not bother to put in all my effort, so no one can accuse me of holding out by being totally unexceptional . What the fuck.

The biggest blow to my opinion of fellow midshipman came at the end of FTX. As we waited for hours for the bus to come pick us up and take us back to school, we were given lunch  in the outer part of Naval Weapons station,and it was pretty chill. I decided I would do something nice, and take my trash and that of others to the dumpster on the fence, across the way. When I came back, all the upperclass midshipman jumped on me for walking a hundred feet away by myself without a battle buddy, even though I was in plain view the entire time. In an instant my fellow midshipmen reverted to being Citadel upperclass, and I was a stupid knob.  Back and forth, I heard “who the fuck is that?”,” is that knob gaudy”? ” doesn’t that knob have a contract”” ” I cant believe they give nasties like him scholarships, what bullshit”. The culmination of all my frustration was in this moment, it was rock bottom for me in terms of morale.

To change gears slightly, my experience being at the Citadel and in the marine unit was a constant realization that everything I had planned my life around, everything I thought about who I was and my mission in life, was completely wrong. It was a destruction of my self image and my imagined dreams. The first week I stood up and was made to swear the oath. Every word felt like a lie, and I didn’t understand what the hell was wrong with me.

When in training or in academic buildings, fellow midshipmen were still full motard. They proudly joked about being yut yuts, oorah marine corps this and that.  In high school I was much the same. I realized then that I had been trying to be something I saw on TV, something divorced from reality, and here I was surrounded by people who were still in fantasyland. They looked so absurd to me, and I couldn’t get myself back into their mentality. They took pride in being meatheaded neanderthals, and it offended me to be associated with them. It felt offensive for others to judge my intelligence based on my uniform.

The bloodthirsty cadences, I couldn’t sing along anymore because I was comprehending what we were saying. On the Marine Corps birthday we had 0500 spirit run, a staff sergeant had us sing “napalm sticks to kids”.  Corpsmen would give us lessons on tourniquets and field questions about injuries, and I found myself unwilling to listen to any of it.

When I was in high school I would look at myself in the mirror with my high and tight cut and say  “I am a United States Marine.” I would imagine myself in MCU’s or dress blues, older, stronger, perfect.It felt good, I was so sure it fit. But before labs at the Citadel, I would look at myself in the mirror, above a sink where I brushed my teeth and was made to urinate. Here I was, wearing MCU’s, or boots and utes,  just like I had always wanted. I no longer saw a marine in the mirror. I saw a skinny, tired 19 year old kid, wearing a hand me down uniform that was too big for me. I was wearing a costume, pretending to be something I wasn’t and doing a horrible job at it.  I had zilch in common with anyone, even less without a desire to commission. People resented that I had a full ride and a path to commission, yet wasn’t motivated or boss at anything. There was no longer any doubt. I didn’t want this, and I was getting out.

They try to really make it a pain in the ass for you to leave. You get counseled by multiple MOI’s, they try to guilt you into staying in, making you feel like if you leave, you will never accomplish anything else.  I felt like someone who actually was motivated deserved my scholarship, someone who didn’t have any qualms about it all. What good would I be to marines under my command if I didn’t believe in the mission, the organization, the culture, the war? No good,and thats the part no one counseling me seemed to understand.

If you get a 4 year scholarship out of high school, you don’t incur any financial obligation to the Department of the Navy until the start of sophomore year. I didn’t want to waste anymore taxpayer money or time, mine or the Marine Corps’s. I left after finals in the fall, and transferred to a school in the state where I was from. I dropped my scholarship, my career, an entire life I had been setting myself up for. I have turned a new corner in my life, but the experiences I have been through are still very much a part of me, they brought me to where I am now. It is for that reason that I sing the Sand Castle Blues, and I still have  a few stories left to tell, for my benefit, and for that of anyone who can be saved from making a big mistake with their lives.

[More stories from me and others about El Cid at http://brokengrayline.tumblr.com/ If you went there or know someone who did, and you didn’t fit in, you aren’t alone. You are among friends. Drop us a line]

The Sand Castle Blues, Part 4- One of the Boys


[Summerall Guards, named after General Charles P Summerall, Citadel President and West Point alum. Noticing a pattern? It is every toolbag’s wet dream to become a summerall guard. They get mentioned at mess announcements and people bang the tables, tradition.]

Before going to El Cid,my frame of reference for what my fellow cadets would be like came as a result of my interests, and experience meeting other prospective cadets at programs for other schools. See, I was a military nerd, in the sense that I would read Clausewitz’s “On War” and Grossman’s “On Killing” out of sheer interest, and I devoured anything about the campaigns of Napoleon, Marine Corps in the Pacific, etc. I believed in the military and war as a profession, which demanded all my attention and sobriety. At the same time, I had the impression that freshman training would be shenanigans all in good fun.

At West Point’s summer leadership camp between junior and senior year, I met students who were tops of their class, tons of extracurriculars and leadership activity, the kind of people who could get into an ivy league school on big scholarships just as easily as they could get accepted to a federal academy. I was top ten percent of my class, had risen to head of JROTC at my high school, and had a host of other trivial honors on my resume. I expected Citadel cadets to be of similiar quality. That they would also be serious, dedicated, ethical people who preferred to spend a saturday night in the library working for a 4.0, or doing practical training, rather than going out to get shitfaced and contract STD’s. I expected some diversity too I suppose.

At the beginning of Knob Year, we are all in the same boat, recieving the same culture shock and homesickness pangs. Consensus among my company classmates the first few weeks was that we had all made a huge mistake in coming here, and wished we could take it back. The progessive infringements made by upperclassmen, and their mentalities towards us and our training bothered many of us at first. But with time, most of them got over it, drank the kool aid, and got with the program. I never did, and as I began to get to know the people around me, I began to see what differentiated us.

I got to the Citadel as part of the honors program, and the people in it were like me as far as priorities. There were only 20-30 of us out of the freshmen class of over 700. I was astonished by how underwhelming the majority of cadets were. The school was ranked as being kind of exclusive about admissions, but I sure didn’t see it.

You truly can typecast the typical cadet. White, southern, good ol’ boy who partied a bit too much in high school, average or below average student. More than a few probably couldn’t hack more than a  semester at a typical college because they’d be getting drunk all the time and skipping class. A good minority of cadets are legacies, and thus were expected to go to El Cid and make daddy proud.

Asides the whole military thing, its basically a small liberal arts college, and so most are in shit easy majors like criminal justice, education, and business. Just the kind of person who can pour their time into putting out as a knob because they weren’t going to be doing school work anyway. Just the kind of person who would, as an upperclassmen, deal with boredom by tormenting the knobs as was done to them.

Cadets come to take a lot of pride in the Corps and in upholding the image they believe it has. They believe it great because of its dominant white male masculine image and the hazing that they endure. Obviously, this means it is not good to stand out, either in opinion or in deviation from this image. Being in South Carolina, there are still plenty of alums alive from the time of Jim Crow, and a few of my classmates were openly racist anytime there weren’t black people around. Black cadets know there are still whispers that they don’t belong there, lumped in with the stigma that many black cadets are there as athletes.

You are taught by upperclassmen to hate the shit out of Corps Squad Athletes. Why? Because athletes to them aren’t real cadets. Most of their time is spent in class or at practice, or in locker rooms. They are almost never in battalion, and are usually exempt from saturday morning inspections, parades, and miss most of the shenanigans. At the mess hall, they eat upstairs, separate from everyone else. They get as much to eat as they need and eat at the table like people, whereas we had to to abide by all these weird table manner rules and be tormented by mess carvers, getting little food. Having done sports in high school I know that college athletics is probably even more demanding, but at the Citadel athletes are treated like shitouts and outcasts, mainly out of jealousy. If I had to go there again and could resist the urge to hit someone this time around, I would go in as an athlete.

The people who have it the worst though are probably the female cadets. They make up less than 5 percent of the population, and have only been admitted since the late 1990’s. The first couple to try didn’t last long, had their uniforms lit on fire by their band of brothers in the corps. Toolbags from time ever after bitch and moan about how women have ruined the school and lowered all the standards and don’t belong there. When I was at the Citadel, we had the highest rate of reported sexual assault incidents out of all the military colleges. I remember being offended when our cadre noticed that my company class was entirely male that year, and they remarked on how great that was and how we should be damn proud of it. Misogyny towards women in general was in style. Another stupid tradition involved making seniors hats for thanksgiving out of whatever materials we had.Yeah, just as stupid as it sounds. And a few asked us to put pictures of naked women on their hats, and so the company got bitched out. Our Tac officer had to comment the obvious, that he shouldn’t have to tell us that doing that was offensive and wrong.

I should probably say a word or two about TAC officers. These guys are retired military who are technically in charge of the Corps at company to regimental level, and the cadets that run them. All military colleges have some equivalent, and they keep the cadet officers on varying degrees of leash as far as how much power and supervision they get. At the Citadel, cadets basically have free reign to run the corps. My company’s TAC was an Army Colonel, West Point alum, and had come to the same conclusion as me, that bad leadership was the norm and the aspiration. As a result, uppers hated him and taught us to hate him too, for trying to fix it, for not allowing them to really “toughen us up and mold us”. The amount of freedom cadets have to “lead” is both the school’s greatest selling point and curse.Power corrupts.

It comes as no surprise that cadets and cadet culture are morally lacking. Some of the most religiously, racially, politically, and sexually offensive sentiments I have ever heard are common speech. We have to follow an honor code, enforced entirely by a cadet honor court, that says we will not lie cheat steal or tolerate those who do. Omission is considered lying, and in general I would think that the lying clause violates your 5th amendment rights. You can be found guilty of hazing, intoxication, disorderly conduct, or be a fatass upperclassman who can’t PT, but only by being found guilty of violating honor code will you definitely be kicked out of the Citadel. Those other things will only get you anywhere from cons and tours to a semester’s expulsion, at worst. Way to produce leaders and maintain good behavior.

Speaking of intoxication, the long running joke is that the Citadel is a drinking school with a military problem. My upperclassmen were some of the highest functioning alcoholics I have ever seen.  Going on leave in  Charleston they did some combination of getting shitfaced and hitting on College of Charleston girls. Knobs on leave had the pathetic habit of hanging around Berry Dorm, in the hopes that the girls staying there might invite them up to rub genitals.Underage drinking amongst my classmates was prevalent, but when caught coming back from leave drunk, they wouldn’t get punished officially. Uppers would bitch them out, have us help them sober up by forcing them to hydrate. You can look at it two ways. One, they look out for us and teach us to look out for each other by not throwing the book at us. Or, cadets tolerate behavior that isn’t supposed to be acceptable, and in doing so, dilute the honor and integrity they supposedly have. It is preferable to go against reg and punish someone by hazing them, in their eyes, than it is to get them in trouble officially. Make of it what you will.

A month or more in to knob year and your cadre and upperclassmen have to varying degrees instilled in their charges a drive to conform, put out, and be liked by their peers and their upperclassmen, in the way an abused dog yearns for his masters approval. Motardedness( the term was toolbag, only upperclassmen used it though) of varying degrees is the standard. Biggest motards become roaches, guys who will get vouched for leadership positions next year. They get hazed extra, mainly by the sophomores.

The pantheon of toolbaggydom is the Summerall Guards, a senior drill team. If you want, look them up on youtube to see their faggy routine. Juniors who want to become summerall guards get to relive knob year, getting shaved heads again and being hazed by the seniors. There is NO SUPERVISION from TACS or anyone in the school admin for the sumerallguards. They have a rep in the Corps for being the most badass, obviously.

Being a shitbag and a shitout is more often an accusation, rarely is someone brave or irreverent enough to admit that they aren’t down with knob year and their company, declare themselves outcast.Snitches who rat on people for hazing get lumped in as well. In lieu of being fucked with on a physical level, when snitches mess up on something, their classmates get hazed or PT’d for them.The more motarded knobs will be instructed by cadre to fix their classmates, or take the initiative to do so themselves. I once heard one of my cadre tell the squad of knobs under him ” I don’t give a fuck how you fix classmate X, just don’t get caught”.
Another time on the weekend I sat next to knobs from 3rd battalion(3rd Reich as its popularly known), discussing how they needed to do something to fix their classmate, but just be careful it didn’t kill him.

To sum up,some like me were ignorant of the realities of life in the SCCC, and expected what was on the brochures about leadership and integrity and brotherhood. Others knew, but went anyway because of the prestige. Still others, wanted to be hazed, wanted to be fucked with and to fuck with people in turn. Most stay because they get it in their heads that quitting is the worst possible thing you could ever do. They can’t fathom the concept of changing your mind, changing course. They think quitting is the easy way out, yet I dropped a guaranteed job and college paid for to be free. Really,It is easier to just conform, and buy into a southern masochistic lifestyle where the only relief is to soak your sorrows in drinks and treat others like shit. To just bend over and let everyone tell you how to live, how to dress, how to think, who to haze. That’s how you become one of the boys. A Citadel Man, worthy of his ring.

The Sand Castle Blues Part 3-Nonmilitary Miseducation


[This is General Mark Clark, a president of the Citadel during the 60’s. Among motards there is a delusional fantasy that when he was in charge of the school the 4th class sytem’s hazing served some sort of POW/SERE purpose. It’s pure hogwash. Also, he graduated from WEST POINT, not El Cid.]

In the past two articles I touched on the dubious highlights of being a Knob at the Citadel, and how they haze and indoctrinate you to be a defender of the 4th class system and the Corps’ values.  But even granted that I would eventually make peace  with the culture,I went to the Citadel expecting it to live up to the promise on the brochures; of being a focused military and academic program to build leaders.

This is after all, what the academies and senior military colleges offer and how they sell it to prospective students. These schools sell themselves on not just a unique experience, but on giving you discipline that will help you in school and in service more than going to Podunk State. The busy, spartan rituals of cadet life are supposed to be more valuable than being  free to manage your life as you see fit,  and it’s supposed to allow you to learn and practice good leadership.  The  small class size academics are touted as being highly ranked, and the first priority of student life above all cadet activities. The big question is, is a military college a better investment of 4 years, from an education and or military leadership standpoint? The answer, from my personal experience and various facts, is no. In fact, I would argue that by combining a military garrison/frat culture with a serious college education, you dilute the quality of both by tearing individual students between two opposing worlds, at the Citadel for sure, and at military schools more broadly.  Let’s talk about the military aspect first.

Considering it being a “military college”, you would think the Citadel would offer training that augments and reinforces what you would receive in the armed forces. After all, they have 24-7 uniforms, loud yelling and marching, PT,friday parades, Saturday Morning Inspections(SMI, field daying basically),strictly controlled schedules and OCD standards of perfection in the barracks/dorms, a very conducive environment for ROTC activity. And EVERYONE at a “military college” is going there to join the real military anyway right? All the tough physical hazing serves to help you in combat, so say upperclassmen.

Let’s break that apart from the bottom. The Citadel, and military schools outside the federal academies, don’t have any military obligation whatsoever to attend. No obligation, period. In fact, the Citadel only commissions about  a third of the graduating class, and that rate is comparable to the other military colleges. Citadel cadets did have to be enrolled in ROTC classes all four years, but they did not have to participate in training activities or labs outside of the one hour, 1 credit- hour class that only met maybe twice a week. The exception to this is obviously people who were actively pursuing a commission or were already there on contract to commission, like myself at the time.

So since military service isn’t obligated for two thirds of the students, the training involved in being a member of the South Carolina Corps of Cadets cannot ever be truly military in nature, as it is not an armed militia. Besides the aforementioned barracks lifestyle spoken of previously, you do not engage in any combat training. You are issued an M-14 rifle with no firing pin for use on the parade field. You receive no weapons training, no tactical or strategic education, no hand to hand combatives, no field training of any kind. When you graduate from the Citadel, you will be useful in any emergency situation that involves shining shoes and belt brass, ironing creases into shirts, sweeping floors,  yelling loudly,and being an arbitrary abusive prick. If that sounds like a combat ready defender of the homeland, excuse me while I pack my shit somewhere run by half sane people.

Surely, the Citadel has to have the college part working, otherwise how could it be an accredited institution? Yes, fortunately it has very good tenured faculty and low class sizes, and one of the best tutoring programs in the nation. The reasons to learn precalculus are simply innumerable, but if you are getting a degree in the liberal arts, hopefully on someone else’s generous dime, it will be an academically satisfying experience, and likewise with the electrical and civil engineering program. The barracks has mandatory study hall periods for like 2 or 3 hours in the evenings, and upperclass mostly abide by the rules of not fucking with knobs and actually doing something productive. So what’s the problem?

In case you couldn’t guess, it has to do with time management.  See, at regular colleges, you have complete freedom to be wherever you want and spend your time however you see fit. You can study as much as you want, or be as lazy as you want, be involved in extra curriculars, or shut yourself in and flip off the outside world.  Its up to you to find the balance. That’s the beauty of the regular college experience.

A military college looks at the time management scenario described above, and says Hell No, these 18-19 year old kids can’t manage time! They need someone else to tell them what to do, when to do it and for how long. They need structure and discipline, so we will make them go to meal time formations, give them curfews,  and march in parades that take up most of friday afternoon. If they have discipline problems or do stupid shit on leave, the school will  either give them room confinements(cons) or tours. A con is self explanatory. Each tour is 50 minutes spent marching around the quad with m14 in hand, like a sentry. Some trouble cadets join the century club, racking up hundreds of tours, losing literally 100’s of hours they could have spent studying, which a confinement at least enables them to do. Tours are fucking pointless wastes of time, and a shitty form of punishment that cripples your main mission as a college student, but its a traditional form of punishment and isn’t going away.

If cadets are in ROTC to get commissioned, they will wake up early in the morning 3 days a week for PT, and attend a military training lab that takes up almost the entire day once a week. This training is mandatory and you will be punished for missing it. All of this is so that cadets can learn to  make smart decisions with what little time they have left. As you can see, these various things all comprise a form of babying, but it  is the respectable reason people come to these schools.

Citadel upperclassmen look at this in relation to the freshmen and say “FUCK NO! These worthless knobs need to earn their place here and since we have almost total power over their lives, we will give them NO TIME. We will interrupt anything they are doing to harrass them on the stairs and in their rooms. Instead of letting them study or get things done, we will make them run errands for us and spend all night shining brass rather than cramming for exams. On fridays, in addition to parades, we will make them spend 3 hours on a “douche detail” where they will pour buckets of hot water and soap on the galleries and sweep floor by floor with shitty brooms. It doesn’t get anything clean, but thats not the point. And if they try to avoid any of these activities by not being in battalion as much as possible and going to bed before 1 am, we will punish their classmates so that they turn on each other and ensure everyone is playing the game. We will barely let them eat at the mess hall and abuse them in any way possible if we can get away with it.They will fall asleep in class and have borderline GPAs. Some of them might fail and have to take summer classes. Some will end up in the infirmary because of what is done to them.They will spend their time doing arbitrary shit rather than anything productive. But by God,they will have a hard knob year, earn their class rings, and they will thank us for putting them through this.”

To sum up, the Citadel offers a barracks environment but no real military training. This makes it no better at preparing you for your training in service than any other school in the nation.  And yet cadets will laud how tough they are because they’re at a military college and learning soldierly things like marching and shining shoes and standing around for hours, just don’t ask them about what kind of combat training they get.

It’s a good school, but your entire first year is spent trying to please the whims of sadists who don’t give a fuck about your classloads, or their own academics for that matter.  They don’t want you putting in the time and effort to be a successful student, because its considered shitting out.  It’s really hard to do well in school when assholes are forcing you to get less than 4 hours of sleep and you’re losing weight from not eating enough and being smoked all the time. Then they will have the nerve to piss on you because they catch you falling asleep in the middle of classes. And if you don’t fit the mold and stand out like I did, everyone is out to get you, and you essentially are alone, because no one likes you or will be associated with you. And yet you are expected to spend every possible second around these people regardless, or its shitting out.

In my next article we will delve into what kind of people are to your left and right at this school, and what to expect from the social groups you can associate with.

[For more from me and other members of the Broken Gray Line, check out our blog:http://brokengrayline.tumblr.com/]