There are some things I can talk to you about over and over, however, unless you have been there, you just don't understand. You may not understand some of the below and that's ok, but those who are infantry will get it and will understand. Id just rather you tell a Marine thanks, either way I don't give a crap what you think your entitled to…………..
Physical Fitness Tests (PFTs) – This is the Marine Corps way of evaluating your physical fitness. It is made up of pull ups, sit up and a 3 mile run (ladies do flex arm hang instead of pull ups, not my rules). In my book, Officers go first & lead by example. Thus, you usually do pull ups first and officers should be the first to get on the bar ( I have known some that didn’t cause they were afraid of their Marines seeing them only do 4 pull ups) but that’s an entirely different post. PFTs are good at evaluating you fitness but hell, they suck. I’m 210 lbs, and well over 6’ 2” I hate running,. However I run often or I’ll turn into a fat ass. The sit ups and run suck, you just get threw them. I have long ass arms, pulling 210 lbs up to the chin up bar, not so fun around 15-20 pull ups. As soon as your motivated 1stSgt announces your PFT dates it’s like a monkey on your back. I just like to do it and get it over with, regardless, they suck.
Being comfortable, being uncomfortable – Regardless if you are on your seventh day in the field or fourth month on deployment, you are going to get funky. The term FAB (feet, ass and balls) is what usually is refeed to in a closed area with a bunch of nasty Marines. “The FAB is strong in here”. If it’s not prickly heat rash, jock itch or some god for saken afghani fungus growing on you because you haven’t bathed for some time it’s your 4th pair of socks that can stand up by themselves. Ticks, mosquitos, ants etc? We welcome them “let them eat” there are times you just happen to land in a tick nest or even better that cute FOB puppy in Helmand has about two million fleas on it, making their way up your shin about now. Any infantry Marines wife has done the famous “tick chick” on their hubby when he gets home. It isn’t pretty.
Mandatory safety classes – We treat our Marines like adults in combat, more like super heroes because they are. Then we get them back in garrison and we baby their asses. I’m not saying that telling Pvt knucklehead a hundred times “it’s a bad idea to drink & drive” is bad, I’m saying telling him every day of the week, a hundred times, is dumb. He gets it, trust me, the kid can smell an IED two feet in the ground, knows when he is a talking monkey. As a Commander, give them an alternative way to get home, you’re the leader. Some use arrive alive (which hardly gets used) because some angry 1stSgt crushes them for using it because well, the Marine was drunk. Go figure.
Sleep is a crutch- Scientists should be doing tests on infantry Marines. We can sleep anywhere, anytime, within a few seconds of recognizing “shit, I can get 10min in here” BAM, out cold. Hell, in boot camp I fell asleep standing up and about busted my nose open. Trust me, it can be done. I’ve slept on hoods of hummers, who knows in how many AAV turrets, five tons (sleep freaking machine right there) as is any CH46, CH53 after 24/48 hours of no sleep. The rocking of the helo is like a knock out punch. I can sleep in a 100 man tent, with a rabid spades game going on, dip bottles spilled everywhere, in 100+ temps and when an IED goes off 5 miles away I awake like a panther. That’s just how you get I spose.
MREs- Meal Ready To Eat – Are they good? No. Are they good when your freaking hungry enough to eat the ass end of a bear running north? Yup. They tend to “plug” you up a bit too. Ok, it’s like shitting a brick after about 3 of those satanic meals and your entrails are coming out. I don’t know what sick som bitch invented MREs but they are Satan’s spawn. But, you can make them better with a little bit of Mrs Dash covering them but still you’re going to hate them coming out. Thanks Mr MRE inventor!
Crutch, super power, food groups – If you’re in the infantry, there is a pretty good chance (99.99999%) you either dip Copenhagen, smoke cigarettes, chew Red Man or smoke Cigars (go figure). When you don’t eat very much while in the field/deployment because you fear the MRE, you tend to supplement your diet with one of the above, a lot! Top it off with some “chow hall” Monster/Red Bull kicker and hell, you’re ready to fight all night. Ya, Gunny is beating everyone up to pound water and your urine is basically sand coming out of you, have another Red Bull! There are two types of Copenhagen, stateside (cardboard can) or the overseas shit in a plastic can. Overseas shit is bad but I have seen Marines lick the inside of a Copenhagen tin when it’s all gone convincing themselves there is some still in there. Crazy!
Body Armour- All you kids/military video game playing nerds think it’s cool to run around in 100+ temps wearing Sapi plates and Kevlar loadied up with every “Black Hawk” pouch on them is super cool neato right? No, it sucks! Your body armor will chafe you like its sand paper and oh ya those cool sexy sapi plates weigh about 30lbs each. Running sucks and running while under fire sucks worse. However, the first time you pull a chunk of RPG, rock from a bullet impact etc out of them, you tend to forget how bad they are bothering you, for a few minutes, then they quickly remind you how much they suck again. If you see a Marine (usually lieutenants) with every piece of f8cking gear on them, Im talking extra “sexy” shit, 1stSgt needs to talk to him and help him pull his head out of his ass. Ounces are pounds & that shit adds up, when this happens on patrol in Helmand Province, the Lt or whoever it is, is usually your first heat casualty.
SgtMajor hate & discontent – Sgt Majors are either your best friend or God help you, your worst nightmare. The SgtMaj is the commander’s senior enlisted guru. If it’s important, he knows it and knows it well. In garrison, SgtMaj will mentor his 1stSgts, who like mini me SgtMajors are ready to skin anyone junior than him in a blink of an eye (including Lieutenants and if needed some Captains) Majors have broken the code by then and figured out how to bribe the SgtMaj to be his friend. A good cup of black coffee helps to for the SgtMaj. It’s a thinking man’s game (Lt/Capt, take note). Junior Marines, God help you. I’m not about to get between you and SgtMaj clicking off safe on your ass. Have fun, I’m out. In war time, there is nothing more heroic than bullets flying everywhere, a wounded Marine or two and SgtMaj is walking up to check on the lads like it’s a Sunday morning in New York (Balls of steel). They also help keep and quickly inject a very large dose of common sense into Lt, Capt, Majors, Lt Colonels and above when needed. I love it when I hear some crazy ass requirement or plan from a senior officer and then the SgtMajor gets to speak and tears it all to shit. God I love them.
Marine Helo Pilots – I’m pretty sure all Marine pilots go to a special class on how to drop grunts off in the wrong damn landing zone (LZ) so we have to walk 30,000 clicks to our link up. Fu$k me, I wish I had a dollar every time that’s happen, then Mr flyboy goes wheels up, back to base while I got to try not to get dead humpin my ass off. Also, note to pilots, I can’t hear shit to begin with because Lance Corporal numb nuts ran the 50 cal so freaking long on that last burst, let alone hear you talk with that cool ass helmet on. Try to fly the damn bird to the big ass circle I have drawn on the map, hell it has the lat/long on the map, use it, Maverick!
PT Belts – Seriously, WTF, I have never seen so much jack assery about a damn glow belt. You see, we in the military (the Army is actually worse) have to wear these damn glow belts whenever we PT. I hate them with a passion. Somewhere in the Bible, I believe in Exodus 20:15 baby Jesus said that all Marines will wear glow belts and every 1stSgt out there will wear you out if you don’t have the right color belt on. Be on your toes though, because next month they change to a different color and if you have the wrong color on, your fu&cked! How did the Marine that came before us survive? Man, they must of lost a couple a hundred a week to deaths related to Marines running on base without glow belts. Smh….
The warrior to the right & left of you – Yes, you may have a complete f8ck wit as one of your lieutenants, Sgts, hell, even Staff Sgt, but they are your f8ck wits. You may crush them every week for doing dumb shit. However, if you are at port, FOB Victory or any other joint base and another branch bags on your shit bird, its ass chewing time for that Army joe, Navy, Air Force person etc. If you’re in a bar fight (who me? never) you stick as a pack. If one of you is in trouble, the “other guy” has to fight you all, even if one of your f8ck wits started it by being, well a f8ck wit. The bonds you create by months, years suffering together are indescribable. Truly, I can’t describe it. If I see any of the Marines I’ve served with ten years from now, all of the above stands to the day I die. If I have to beat some young turds ass with my walker to defend one of my SgtMajors, let the ass kicking begin. Some people call the Marines a cult, I like to call it “the mafia” because once you’re in, you’re in for life and we cover each other’s backs. It’s the “getting in” part that can be painful (boot camp).
Battalion formations- I like to refer these to the Bataan Death March. News flash junior Marines, unless you’re the BC (Battalion Commander) we hate them too! I had a CO once that had our battalion form up in BN formation everyday at 0600 and Co Cdrs had to report how many Marines were sick, UA, or became a new f8ck wit the night before. C’Mon, really? Then they were followed by a “Commanders huddle”. Seriously? Im going to tell you what I just told you in formation. Its 0600, 85* and 90% humidity in Camp Lejuene, Im in a Bn formation and I see Elvis walk by. Of course I’m hallucinating and trying not to lock my knees and pass the f8ck out. But hey,by god we are having a formation!!! Lets read a few award certificates while we are all here, oh joy, read another…….bang, there goes one of your f8ck wits that got shit faced last night as he passes out. Crap, the Old Man is going to be pissed. How I love Bn formations.
29 Palms – 29 Stumps or “hell” as many call it is a massive range with a moon like landscape. We shoot everything there and stay there for usually a month or so. This range is a rite of passage for infantry Marines. With machine guns firing over their heads and mortars dropping down in support, grunts rush forward to attack a fortified “enemy” position in 29 Palms, California. It sounds awesome, and it is. It’s also an ass kicker because you are running your ass off in all that body armor in million degree temps in the middle of the desert with live fire all around you. This is the only range where the Marine Corps lets us do overhead mortar fire. We drop them danger close (250 meters) and you get a pretty realistic battle feeling from hearing shrapnel go over your head.
Well, I hope this let you peak behind the curtain so to speak into the life of the infantry Marine. We make them tough and they never let us down. How I love my Marines. Time for a C-Gar