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”