Defending One’s Honor

So when I first started this blog, it was strictly personal. So my blog posts were aimed at my friends and family because they were the only ones who ever read it, save for the occasional passerby who stumbled across my blog via some weird search term.

For the guy that regrets getting married after 4 years; science has discovered that the so called 7-year itch is actually a 4-year itch. Us humans are designed to lose interest in our spouses after about 4 years, thus the reason about half of all divorces happen at the 4-year mark. Buck up and get over it. After 12 years, I still feel that marrying my wife was the smartest thing I ever did. And the hard work is well worth it, as you’ll discover when you get over the 4-year hump.

Anyway, the number of visits to my blog has gone way up over the last few months, and a few Marines have stumbled across an old ranting post about my anger over getting sent home from Marine Corps basic training. Some of them (possibly most of them) have taken offense to my rant, and one even left me a pretty scorching response. That this latest Marine, having read my post without the benefit of knowing the circumstances under which the situation occurred, is simply ignorant, and I feel the need to defend my honor.

First, let’s start with the fact that he called me a “non-hacker,” as in I couldn’t hack boot camp, not that I’m incapable of hacking a computer. But even if he was, I did actually hack the systems of the computer science computers and those in the language lab when I was in college.

So, this guy clearly missed the part about how I was sent home two week – TWO WEEKS! – before my platoon’s graduation. I was there long enough to graduate from basic training in every other branch of service. I was a squad leader, my platoon’s top marksman, was one of maybe a dozen recruits in my platoon of 60 to achieve the 20/80 PT requirements (something my recruiter never thought I’d be able to do), and I even got a severe case of bronchitis my first week there, but still participated in a 1.5 mile run before getting put on 3 days of light duty to recover. I was also one of the most disciplined recruits, period. My drill instructors knew this, and gave me credit for it. Unlike the ignorant Marine, I was not once picked on by a single drill instructor. Or at least, I never felt that I was. In fact, it was the meanest drill instructors that I respected the most.

My entire platoon hated Sgt. Milton. I thought he was awesome.

In fact, my DI’s learned to stop asking me if I thought they were crazy, to which I always responded “Yes Sir!” or if they asked me if I was crazy, I often responded with, “Like a fox, Sir!”

The ignorant Marine seemed to think that I hated my SDI because he picked on me. Far from it. I hated him because he made no bones about the fact that he was trying to get out of completing his tour as DI. I give the guy credit for making Senior at just 25 years old, but he was young and inexperienced… and a brat frankly. I hated him even though he was the “nice” one (DI’s have roles, and his was to be the nice guy). Furthermore, he blatantly violated my right to privacy when he opened up my medical file and openly shared it with several other DI’s. So much for doctor-patient confidentiality.

Let’s not forget to mention the fact that I told every Marine that would listen that I wanted to stay in training. One of the first questions I was asked after being sent to MHU was, “Do you want me to send you home?” to which I emphatically responded, “NO SIR!” I was then asked, “Why not?”

Well, I was a little taken aback by that question. But my response was simple. “This recruit didn’t join the Marines to be sent home a civilian.”

My father put in his 20 years across three different branches, my brother was in the Army (and has just recently re-enlisted), my uncle is a Korean War veteran, I have a close friend that is a Marine Corps OCS graduate, another that is a former Army Ranger, a cousin that put in his eight years, my cousin’s husband is a “lifer” in the Corps, and another friend is a Marine Corps Vietnam vet (and sole ambush survivor from his platoon). The last thing on my mind was being sent home to disappoint my friends and dishonor my family’s name.

Just before I was sent home, I heard a rumor that I would be allowed to re-enlist after a 6 month waiting period. Having previously thought that I wouldn’t be allowed back in at all, I made the decision then and there that I was going to re-enlist. Almost as soon as I stepped off the bus after getting home, I started training for my eventual re-enlistment. I got shin splints really bad during the second phase of training, so I started exercises to toughen them up. I also spent a lot of time swimming and running.

At night, I regularly had dreams about boot camp after re-enlisting. I once even had a dream where I discovered that I was going to be sent home again… for the fourth time. I initially felt sick to my stomach, but then said to myself, “Oh well, guess I’ll just have to do it over again for the fifth time.”

I set my re-enlistment date for January 1996. On November 21, 1995 (just a few weeks after choosing my re-enlistment date) I was in a motorcycle accident that shredded the nerves of my right arm. My right arm became useless after that day. A good friend came to visit me in the hospital and asked me, “So you STILL want to go back to the Marines?” I answered very somberly, “I don’t think they’ll take me now.”

Despite my injury, I always held out hope that medical technology would come up with something in time for me to go back. I held a huge party on my 28th birthday. It was actually one of the saddest days in my life. The Marines don’t take anybody new that is 28 or older.

And the ignorant Marine obviously missed the part about how a Navy doctor blatantly lied on my medical file. That was essentially the nail in the coffin that got me sent home.

The last two weeks of training in 1994 (long before the introduction of The Crucible) was the easiest part of boot. You basically spent it practicing for the graduation ceremony. Now, you honestly think a “non-hacker” would make squad leader, be his platoon’s top marksman, believe that the best part of boot was puking his guts out in the gas chamber, and wait until the easiest part of training to get himself sent home?

However, he did get one thing right. I am a whiner. If I wasn’t, I wouldn’t be whining about him calling me a non-hacker. But heck, how boring life would be if we couldn’t whine about it every now and then, eh? Life sucks, and whining every now and then is a great way to deal with it. Hell, it’s the American way! Besides, without whiners psychologists wouldn’t have anything to do and Presidential debates would be so boring.

So let’s all do our part to contribute to the American way, and whine away! Got something you wanna get off your chest? Let’s hear it.

Oh yeah… and like my header says, “Lighten up! Life’s too short to take seriously.”

4 thoughts on “Defending One’s Honor

  1. Life With Buck

    This was fascinating. Because I read the edited version of the original post, I don’t know what you said to the chaplain but I’m pretty confident that chaplains are suppsoed to keep everything confidential. I’m left with the impression you really got screwed on this, and I also think that readers who accidentally stumble across blogs and spew out uniformed comments and then never return, are grossly ignorant knuckle-draggers. It’s so obvious by the way you talk about the Marines and all branches of the service, that you’ve always been in preperation to go at full-bore. And whining is good. If people didn’t whine, we’d never have anything to read or do.

  2. Meadow

    As long as you don’t constantly whine, add in a bit of sarcasm, a sprinkle of bragging and some lovin’ of the wife ;) , then it’s a perfect blog for me.

  3. Pingback: Don’t Dine in Hell Like the 300 Spartans

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