Speaking to the Future…

On the way home from annual training, I stopped at Wendy’s for lunch. As I was eating, I overheard a conversation between the young man who had served me and another customer. It turned out that the customer was, like me, a former U. S. Marine–and the server was getting ready to ship to Marine Recruit Training (“Boot Camp”) in San Diego, CA. The former Marine had attended Boot at Parris Island, SC and was making the typical pained noises about “Hollywood Marines,” so I got up quickly and introduced myself as a graduate of San Diego. I returned to my seat, from which I heard him deliver his parting lesson: the best way to make it through Boot was to “keep your head down and blend in to the background.”

After some thought, I got up from my salad and walked back to the counter. There were no other customers in line, so I called the young man over to talk. “I’m going to disagree with my fellow Marine,” I said. The young man smiled uncertainly. “No matter how well you try to blend in, you will get attention from the Drill Instructors. I say, if your platoon is doing something that you can do balls-to-the-wall and really show your stuff, do it. Not just because your platoon will respect you for it, but because no matter what you do for the rest of your life, I guarantee you that you will remember Marine Corps Boot Camp. So you might as well make it a memory worth having.

“What you can’t do is, A) Get injured–they’ll recycle you, which would suck–and B) Take it personally. No matter how personal your Drill Instructors try to make it, telling you that the platoon is out island-hopping because of something that you did, it’s just a game. The platoon is out island-hopping because island-hopping is on the schedule. It’s just your day to find out how you stand up under the pressure, and taking it personally makes it worse.

“Good luck in my Corps, and I know you will do great things.”

Published by Little-Known Blogger

I spent the first years of my life in a trailer park outside of a tiny town in rural Missouri. I grew up to be a long-haired, gun-hating, military-hating, Presbyterian super-liberal. Well, perhaps the “growing up” happened later. While in high school, I was on the cross-country and wrestling teams, and actually won my weight-class in a State powerlifting competition. I went on to attend college on a Bright Flight scholarship, where I promptly became an atheist. I trained for a few years in Shotokan karate and Cheng-system taijiquan before training in my first real martial art, Hwarang-Do, under the late Franklin Fowlkes (later the Founder and Grandmaster of the Five Elements Martial Arts System). I married an older Taiwanese woman my junior year, got divorced in short order, and dropped out of college. After completing my AA in Psychology, I decided I needed a complete change of scenery and joined the U.S. Marine Corps (having early been assured that there was no way that a skinny liberal like me would ever survive Boot Camp). Contrary to what the Hipster Zombies will tell you, this did not “brainwash me into being a Conservative”. Instead, it made me a very unhappy, short-haired liberal, surrounded by guns and the military. However, I spent my whole contract (after schools) on the island of Okinawa, where I was exposed to points of view not dominated by the American liberal media. During this time, I taught ESL classes as a side-job, trained under some of the highest-ranking masters of karate on Okinawa, and discovered the practice of Buddhism. I also spent some time in Korea, where I got to train in hapkido. It was during this period that I came gradually to realize how stupid and evil American liberalism actually is. This was partly due to my Military Police command sending me to Small Arms Instructor school, which gave me more exposure to guns than I could ever have imagined—thus negating my idiotic liberal distaste for them. After the active-duty portion of my Marine Corps contract was over, I worked several jobs, from security contracts to operating a forklift in a warehouse. In 2002, however, when the invasion of Iraq was getting under way, I signed up with the Missouri Army National Guard, and have remained with them since, continuing as a Military Policeman. I am also full-time corrections officer, a member of the Anglican Church, and at one time was an Instructor Candidate in Dekiti-Tirsia Serradas Kali (until my instructor moved away). My hobbies (beyond blogging) include strength training, shooting sports, martial arts, creating digital art, and being a huge science and science-fiction geek.

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6 Comments

  1. Jason, I completely agree with you. As a veteran infantryman from 2/5 I believe you gave this potential Marine good advise in his first steps to becoming a member of our Corps. The part about not taking things personal is such a critical point. In society, depending on where you fit in, that can be one of the largest obstacles a person faces. Now… in the Army people go for years having never figured these things out. I would say this is largely due to the fact that their program is to take anything with a pulse & "basic training" by design does not impose the pressures required to weed out the non hackers and forge the rest, they simply round off a few edges.Semper Fi, RUF"some people spend a lifetime wondering if they ever made a difference, Marines dont have that problem" Ronald Regan

  2. Ditto. The worst advice I ever got when I joined the Marines was to “keep my head down and fit in”. The Marines don’t want people to fit in … they want people who stand out.Plus, if you are joining the Corps, this is your career. You should always try to do your best to advance and succeed.

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