Well, I can see that you’re not going to be swayed by arguments or experiences, and that you’re going to join up after graduating high school. To be honest, even if I’d known this site existed before I enlisted, I’d probably have done what you’re doing right now. You see the Marine Corps as a band of brothers where you strive towards a noble goal. If you’re anything like I think you are, you’ll have memorized the leadership traits and principles, all three verses of the Hymn, general orders, and love history in general and Marine Corps history in particular. Since you’re not going to be swayed by anything we say, I guess the best I can do is give you some advice to make your time in more likely to be less sphincter-busting:
1.) Boot camp is three months long, after which you spend about a month or two in SOI, and then either the fleet or the schoolhouse depending on what job you got. You’re then going to be locked into that job for the next four+ years. Don’t bother focusing on initial training, what matters is the four+ years you’re going to be spending doing a job. You have to be absolutely certain that you have the job you want in print BEFORE you ship. I don’t mean a contract with ten jobs on it and your recruiter’s word that you’ll get the one in the middle, I mean a no shit contract for one job that you think you’ll enjoy doing for four years.
2.) If you get to request a duty station, they have you write down an O for overseas, W for west coast, or E for east coast. Write down either W or E if you can’t get W. AVOID OKI LIKE IT’S THE FUCKING PLAGUE. Trust me on this, you want to get some time in a state-side station before you hit that place. If you go there as a Cpl, it’s a very different experience than if you go as a PFC or Lance.
3.) Get your recruiters to let you try on different (bates) boot, shoe, and cami sizes before you go, make sure to check out wide sizes for boots, and then remember those sizes when you hit receiving. There should be a base somewhere near you that has an exchange, just have them take you there. You’re paying for that stuff, you should be sure it fits you and you don’t have to replace it all with new shit when you hit the fleet.
4.) When they ask you if you want to pay the $100 a month for the Montgomery GI bill for 12 months, politely tell them to go to hell. You don’t need to pay for the Post 9/11 GI bill. Go to these websites to learn more about the Post-9/11 GI bill, which is a better deal than the Montgomery ever was:
5.) MCIs are little tests that everyone cheats on, and can be worth college credit. They probably won’t apply to any real degree you could want after you get out (unless you get your BA in weapons of mass destruction from Patriot Bible University or some shit) but they do help with your class standing. Most Universities have a limited number of seats in their classes, so the more credits you have, the sooner you can enroll for classes. This hasn’t bothered me, because I’m an honors student and I get to apply a few weeks before the upper classmen, but I have about fifty credits from MCIs and stuff sitting on my college transcript that don’t apply to my degree. If nothing else, it gives you something to do that could potentially benefit you in service, and might benefit you when you get out. Trust me, nobody gives two shits if you memorized the drill manual once you get out. Just be sure to do the ones that count for more college credit first, the list I used is several years old and from a different branch, but it’s the best that’s out there currently as far as I know:
6.) When you leave boot camp and hit the fleet, do not do any of the following:
– Buy a new vehicle at high interest rates, or any vehicle that you can’t pay off in 6 months or less.
– Walk off base in boots, a backpack, 7.62 design clothing, a cowboy outfit, or with your dogtags hanging out of your shirt.
– Go to the strip clubs or bars outside the main gate.
– Drink underage.
– Marry your high school girlfriend to get off base and higher pay.
– Marry a stripper/hooker (you’ll be surprised to see how often that happens).
– Use BAMCIS as an expletive in a sentence.
– Talk about your boot camp/SOI stories.
– Get a moto tat or meat tag (a tattoo with your social security number on it is a bad idea).
– Walk around a boot trap. If you’re stateside, there’s areas where the boots accumulate off base called boot traps. Salesmen know where those places are and are looking to rob you blind through scams, people who’ve been there a while know where those places are, just ask.
7.) Understand how the promotion system works for E5 and below. The Marine Corps is unique among the armed forces in that it doesn’t care if you’re good at your job for promotion. Military Occupational Specialty (MOS, your job) proficiency matters dick, what counts is whether or not your SNCOs like you. Different MOSs have different cutting scores to pick up Cpl and Sgt. Check out this list:
This month, say you have a 1400. If you’re a 2147 LAV mech, your cutting score to meet or beat is a 1335, you might be a CPL before you hit the fleet, and you’ll definitely be one as soon as as you rate a score. If you’re an 1812 M1A1 crewman on the other hand, your cutting score for Cpl is a 1694, and you have a few years to go. Once you max out your P/CFT, rifle, and education scores, there’s really nothing you can do to raise your score; you get to sit around and get fucked with for however long it takes to pick up. If you’re willing to be the office bitch and pick up faster, get to know Excell and PowerPoint before you ship.
– Windex is great for wooden ledges and planes, don’t use pledge, it attracts dust. Don’t use Windex on your corframs or any other shiny “leather” or “brass” article of clothing. It leaves a residue that gives off a rainbow shine.
– Be sure to use Brasso on your door knob and shiny things, not uniform items.
– The grout in your bathroom wasn’t white when they put it in, but it’s going to have to be now. You can use white-out, or this product:
– Pull your carpet out of your room (if you have one) the first time you can, and sweep, vacuum, mop, and use Mop & Glo under and around it. Then bring the carpet back in and duct tape that thing to the floor.
– Get two shower curtains, one’s an inspection curtain and the other is the one you use, just put the one you use in a trash bag in something you can lock for field day.
– When you’re buffing the floor (if you didn’t take my advice and chose
Oki) lean back to make it go left, lean forward to make it go right.
Don’t let on that you’re able to do that though, or your ass is going to
be up till three every Friday morning buffing and stripping and buffing
and stripping the no-buff floors of your barracks.
– Determine the length of your hanger rod in inches, divide that by the
number of things you’re going to be hanging from it and that’s how many
inches of separation you should have between each of your hangers. Use
your ribbon measuring tool to be certain.
– Don’t use edge dressing on your corframs if you can avoid it, it makes a mess, looks like shit, and is generally worthless.
– Once you’ve accumulated what you think is going to be the last ribbon you’re going to get, order a rack from here:
It looks good and no, there’s no order that says only drill instructors can wear them.
– Use a web belt to back your ribbons, it’s the perfect length and you should have oodles of spares coming out of boot camp.
– Don’t use starch on your cammies, they say not to on the tag inside of those $120 outfits. You light up like a Christmas tree on NVGs if you do, it shortens their life-span and can stain them. Just wash them and hang them in the shape you want when they come out of the drier.
– For fucks sake, don’t starch your cover into a rigid shape. Just wash it, don’t send it through the dryer, and pull the sides up so it dries in the shape you want it.
– Don’t iron your Chucks. There’s super glue in the seams of the shirt to keep them there that you’ll melt if you do.
10.) Lastly, mental dissonance. If you’re anything like I was, you’re going to hit a point where you realize that the Marine Corps isn’t a rite of passage, and that you’re being judged based off of your ability to parrot and follow orders regardless of their validity, nothing else. At this point, you’re going to have to make a decision, do you turn on your peers and step on them to get up, or do you hold to your honor and get passed over for those who are willing to play the game? Are you a prisoner, or a convict? I hope that you make a decision you can live with when that time comes.