First of all, no K didn’t do this one, he contacted me on Ihatetheusmc.com and asked if I would be interested and I told him I’d give it a shot. One weekend duty later, here’s what I came up with. I realize that I’m no Max Uriarte (The “Terminal Lance” guy) but I feel that I’ve gotten my point across.
I’ve always found the concept of the Safety Stand-down to be peculiar at best (downright ridiculous at worst). Never in my 21 years of life have I ever supposed that a group of 18 – 20 something year olds would abuse their spouses/girlfriends, become alcoholics, drink & drive, or even commit suicide, simply because no one had ever told them it was a bad idea.
This seems however, to be a widespread belief up at Headquarters Marine Corps. Not only do the fine folks at HQMC believe that we need to be given these classes, they believe that we need to take the SAME classes every year, just so we don’t forget. What’s more, if you’re stationed in Japan, (or select other countries around the world) you get the rare treat of watching the Armed Forces Network on TV. This wonderful collection of stations replaces normal commercials with wonderful, government-sponsored commercials about such fascinating topics as: government vehicle misuse, skateboarding in uniform, general and special powers of attorney, core values, code of conduct, alcohol abuse, domestic violence, and (for the children) a wonderful piece on how to get on and off of a school bus without getting ran over.
But I digress.
So at least once a year (depending on the unit sometimes considerably more) the entire battalion files into the Chapel/base theater/wherever to receive the same dull, uninteresting class that they all received last year. Never once does it occur to HQMC that maybe there’s a cause to all of these problems; that perhaps there’s a source of hate and discontentment that drives these Marines to do these things. But what could this source be? Certainly not the Marine Corps! Not that perfect, smooth-running, war fighting machine that everyone up in Headquarters has been a part of for 20 – 40 years or more! So obviously the problem is that these younger Marines have just never been told that these things are bad ideas, so as soon as they are informed that these are bad ideas the problems will go away. Yay! Promotions for everyone!
If what I have just written seems ridiculous in the highest degree to you, don’t worry you’re not alone. You see, to me this is all simple cause and effect:
Every time a Marine makes a mistake, he is verbally berated often accompanied by punishment in the form of physical labor. So everytime his spouse/girlfriend makes a mistake he verbally berates her, accompanied by punishment in the form of physical abuse.
A Marine gets constantly “fucked with” during the week with Field Day and other assorted BS that shouldn’t really matter. So they get “fucked up” at every opportunity they get.
Marines get PT’d until they die, so they decide that they’d rather die than be PT’d any more.
You see? Basic cause and effect.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I firmly believe that there should be consequences for actions, that Marines should be in shape, that they shouldn’t be living in squalor, and that they should be able to enjoy a beer or 2 or 3. But the Marine Corps does all of these things excessively to put it mildly. And I also believe that some of these classes serve a valid purpose. For example, we once had a Safety Stand-down, because Marines hadn’t been using chock blocks on 7-tons and trailers. Most of the drivers in the unit weren’t Motor T, so not knowing to use the chocks was somewhat understandable and the class is useful. Another example being water safety, because not everyone is familiar with ocean tides so it’s a sensible warning to give. However, the one class that is conspicuously absent from these annual training classes is “How To Treat Your Marines Like Human Beings.”
Seriously, how many spouses wouldn’t be abused if the Marine was accustomed to the punishment fitting the crime, and if only the Marine who committed the crime was punished? How many alcohol related incidents and drug pops wouldn’t occur if Marines were allowed to come to work, do their jobs, and then leave at the end of the day, rather than being constantly fucked with and denied time with their families? How many of the platoon’s worth of Marines who took their own lives last year would still be alive today if they were treated with just the tiniest bit of civility and human decency at some point during their enlistment?
There, I’ll step of my soap box now, if you were hoping for a lighthearted, funny comic, sorry to disappoint but I feel that this needed to be said.
Safety and Peace
Being treated as subhuman scum since 1775