Nobody Lies, Cheats, or Steals in the Marine Corps

In the Summer of 2003, I was on Parris Island. 1st Bn, CO A.

One platoon stood out as they won all the competitions – initial drill, final drill, written testing, etc. This story takes place around the final written test and prac app. The platoon I was in had scored the highest but lost because Recruit “X” had gotten a 0% on the prac app portion. How did this happen? Well, within earshot of dozens of us, the Senior DI of the championship platoon said to the marine in charge of taking the scores, “I’d really like to make sure my platoon wins this one, too.” It didn’t mean anything to us until “X,” who was not an idiot by any means, was railroaded during the CPR and other prac app exercises. They rushed him, harassed him, and got up in his grill like he was committing the cardinal sin of considering out loud that he might want to go to OCS.

Afterward, word must have gotten around, so there was a pow-wow with the Co. Gunny. We all received the following speech, but at much greater length:

“There’s a lot of doggone talk about people cheating. Well, I’m here to tell you that no one is cheating, so you all need to stop talking about it. At the end of each doggone competition, a trophy is given to the platoon that earns it by winning, but that doggone trophy is returned at the end of the drill cycle, so it’s a trophy that you don’t even get to keep. So if anyone did cheat, it wouldoesn’t not matter. Now, tell me, do you think that someone can be a leader if he runs a four-minute mile and does forty pull-ups, but is a faggot? I say no. Now some of you might not want to hear that, but if you’re a faggot you can’t be a leader.”

And then we were dismissed.

Submitted by Chris Pascale

  • Billiam201

    I’m not surprised to hear him describe someone who runs a 4-minute mile and does 40 pull-ups as a “leader”.

    Those are the sole qualifiers to be a member of what passes for “leadership” in the marine corps.

    Is your IQ lower than your hat size?

    Did you barely pass MOS school?

    Are you so incompetent that you haven’t worked in your MOS since “A” school because the NCOs keep FAPping you out so that they don’t have to deal with you?

    Are you only “functionally literate” by the broadest application of the term?

    All of these are completely irrelevant if you run fast enough and do enough pull-ups.

    • Absolutely. I flunked my first MOS school (2/3 of us failed or were sent back). The night before I left for Courthouse Bay the duty NCO came to my barracks room to let me know I’d be alright no matter what, because I ran faster than everyone and could do 20 pull-ups.

      He meant it sincerely and was being a nice human being, trying to lift me up, not knowing I was glad not to be spending the rest of my contract probing circuit boards with a multi-meter.

  • Just a followup here: I was telling a marine I work with this story today. When I got to the part about, “…..and no one cheated; if you’re gay…….”

    He said, “wait a minute. How did he segue into that?”

    He didn’t. It was essentially just one run-on sentence. In fact, I don’t think this situation was even connected because none of my DIs were gay (at least, they didn’t seem gay when we were fucking); I think he just figured, ‘well, while everyone’s here, let me cover this, as well.’

    And so he did.

  • old

    I don’t know why I keep posting here- an over the hill former Marine like me keeps adding my (aged) 2 cents worth:
    Billiam201- I think you touch on an important point in regard to the Corps tending to go overboard with superficial physical fitness results, and how they delusional believe that they are yardsticks of proper “leadership”.
    Of course superior physical fitness and stamina for combat is vital for a war fighting organization, and every Marine I worked around always had competing ideas about what constituted real PT and what didn’t ( based on their own preferences)
    One thing I learned was that there was huge difference between PT that constituted SHOWING OFF or satisfying the sadomasochist tendencies of the NCO’s running it, vs PT that is close as possible to combat conditions!
    Running your units around base singing stupid songs about how great you are may LOOK and sound good( when you are trying to impress a CO for promotion), but the overall combat conditioning value of the entire exercise is questionable if that is all you ever do.
    Similarly, Lifting huge amounts of weights because you want to look good in uniform, or impress women is one thing- but you better be able to hump your shit in the mountains of Afghanistan, and bullets and RPGS tend not to give a shit about how muscle mass you have!
    Looking at one the greatest Presidents ( and leaders) in our history- Franklin Delano Roosevelt (wheelchair bound by polio)- it is almost DISGUSTING that anyone would judge the worth of one of the greatest Americans who ever lived by how many pull ups he could ( or couldn’t) do, and also how he looked as well!
    The Australian Army has a term for this phenomenon- its called “POSING”. And quite honestly the Corps has gone on a very negative trend of placing too much emphasis on LOOKS and SUPERFICIAL TRIVIALITES – losing sight of the basics.
    If you hate Officers, one thing I can say is that as a former enlisted Officer one of the dumber things I had to do as a 1st LT was dress up in my alpha uniform to have up to 10 photos taken of me at different angles to submit to some Officer board- because they seemed to be overly concerned about how we looked in uniform. And this was even when Marines were struggling to hold Iraq together in 2004!
    There is no substitute for intelligence, wisdom, solid judgement, fairness, competence and compassion -to name a few. They are not shiny things you have to be forced to buy at the PX!
    Thank you for allowing me to post another rant.

    • You keep posting because you have stuff to say, and we’re glad you’re here.

      On FDR: I completely agree. It reminds me of the Herman Wouk novel “War and Remembrance” and its sequel. In several scenes FDR is referred to as “pathetically crippled” or something similar. If you like public schools, the 40-hour work week, and the fact that 80-year-olds aren’t starving and freezing to death, that was FDR. But fuck him, right? After all, he couldn’t run worth a shit! And how many pull-ups could Wheels McGee manage in that chair? I bet none!

      As for shiny shit at the PX, now that’s the business to be in – selling half-a-penny worth of ribbon for a dollar.