Hey there, I’ve been thinking about joining for a long time now (I’m about to be a senior in High School) and I’m wondering why I shouldn’t. I read the novel Jarhead, and like Swofford, I think I’m afraid that in civilian life I’ll faulter, and I see the Marines as a way to gain access into maturity and manhood. My family’s become distant, and I feel like I’m not really close to friends I’ve had, so the brotherhood aspect is also appealing. I have always had a strong sense of national pride and I think joining would fill me with pride, but I’ve read a few horror stories on here, so if I enlist (Infantry MOS) what will I really be getting? Are the aspects of the Corps that appeal to me merely hype? Also, I’m sorry if this is redundant. I have read many posts, but I wanted to see if I could get some direct responses, thanks.
Submitted by: Johnny2X4
Hey, no need to apologize, that’s what this site exists for. I can understand the concept of wanting maturity and manhood out of the military, after all that’s how they advertise it. However, what you’re more likely to find are people who joined because they “want to go kill people”. A good friend of mine once said “the military is a great place for people who never want to grow up: You always have someone who outranks you to hold your hand and make sure you get everything done.” That really is how it is. Every NCO, or Staff NCO will tell you “you’re a grown man I’m not going to babysit you.” But it won’t take long before you’ll find yourself wishing that this was actually true. In reality, even something as simple as cleaning your room, or exercising will be micromanaged to death. You have to stretch out in a group, go do exercises in a group, go running in a single-file line, because all of these “grown men” can’t be trusted to exercise and stay in shape on their own. You need to have a day set aside where the people who outrank you will breath down your neck as you clean every last speck of dust from your room, because “grown men” can’t be trusted to not live in squalor.
Furthermore, most people in the military will turn a blind eye to underage drinking, so they keep having “High School parities” then they turn 21 and they don’t have to worry about getting caught so they want to show off how they can drink and not have to hide it, and it just never stops. Pretty soon you have a 30 year old alcoholic who wears his alcoholism like a badge of honor, and everyone younger than him thinks he’s just so cool because he’s drinks so much!
As far as the Infantry goes, I was attached to an infantry battalion for my deployment, and it’s as if these guys never leave boot camp. Their Sgts yelled and screamed over nothing every bit as much as Drill Instructors did, and the “Senior LCpls” were constantly on the search for new and inventive ways of circumventing hazing laws.
In conclusion, yes, the aspects of the marine corps that you find appealing are almost entirely recruiting propaganda. If you really feel the need to join the military out of fear of failing in the civilian world, I would recommend joining the any branch of the reserves or the National Guard, just so you have some kind of job security while you get yourself on your feet in Civilian life.
Safety and Peace