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2 Profile - A Marine.....

Shalom all.

Today we have a profile of a Marine - one I am certain you are all familiar with.

Please welcome back Scott from Bill In Exile.  Aside from being one of the most unique bloggers around, and an entrepreneur with his new club - Club Q - Scott is also a Marine and kindly allowed me this insight into his service and life as a Marine.

Please - enjoy.  And Scott, thank you.  I know how busy a man you are and I am chuffed you found time to do this.

(2CW) Thank you for your time and welcome back to the blog Scott. 

Mon Plaisir -- That's French.

(2CW) Firstly, before anything else, for the benefit of our non-US readers - including myself :) - can you tell us how the Marine Corps is placed within the Armed Forces of the USA?

The Marine Corps is part of the Department of the Navy (although we all hate to admit to that little fact) and was originally formed in 1775 as a battalion of naval infantry and to provide security on Navy ships.

(2CW) What are the ranks of the Corps?

The enlisted ranks are private, private first class, lance corporal, corporal, sergeant, staff sergeant, gunnery sergeant, first sergeant/master sergeant, sergeant major/master gunnery sergeant.

And the officer ranks are 2nd lieutenant, 1st lieutenant, captain, major, Lt. colonel, colonel, brigadier general, major general, Lt. general, general.

There's also a weird grade of officer known as warrant officers that fall between the enlisted ranks and the officer ranks. In the Marines we call them "Gunners".

(2CW) I've heard the term "Semper Fi" before on tv and in the movies of course - but what is it and more importantly what does it mean to a Marine?

It's who and what we are -- Always Faithful.

(2CW) When did you sign up / enlist for the Corps and why did you choose the Marine Corps and not another part of the Armed Forces?

I went into the Corps in July of 1979 because I was about to be tossed out of college -- discipline problem dontcha know -- and went into the Marines because they had the prettiest uniforms. That and because I wanted to blow shit up.

(2CW) Your initial period of training - is it Boot Camp? - and what sort of experience was it for you?

Boot camp was great. Stressful and physically demanding but an excellent overall experience. Plus, it makes you a Marine, so there's that.

(2CW) Do you know what the attrition rate is? How many of your group dropped out / were excused?

Boot camp generally attrits only about 15% or so of each platoon. The Corps relies upon more advanced training later on to really weed people out.

(2CW) Is it true that you are basically "reprogrammed" during your initial training?

Absolutely. You need to be broken of all the ways in which you previously comported yourself when you were a slovenly civilian and learn how to function as a unit in a manner consistent with the mission of the Marine Corps.

(2CW) I have often heard Marines referred to as "The nicest, most polite bunch of psychopaths one could hope to meet". Now, this gives me a giggle, but given the training and the fundamental job of a Marine - to go in and fuck the other sides shit up with bombs and guns - is it FAR off the mark?

Its spot on really. Although Eleanor Roosevelt once said of Marines she met during World War II, “The Marines I have seen around the world have the cleanest bodies, the filthiest minds, the highest morale, and the lowest morals of any group of animals I have ever seen. Thank God for the United States Marine Corps!”  
All true, but we are polite to a fault.

(2CW) Now onto your service, how long were you in active service and what - I want to say job types, and I know that's wrong - did you have? What rank did you achieve?

I was on active duty for just over 4 years and in the reserves for 6 years. I was a Sergeant of Marines and I was trained as a combat infantryman and scout-sniper.

(2CW) What were some of the positive aspects of your service?

Getting to blow shit up, duh!

(2CW) What were some of the difficult aspects of your service - and please feel free to pass on this question.

Dealing with abjectly stupid people who held a higher rank than me and whom, when they issued a stupid order, could not be convinced of its stupidity.
Also, being a big homo in an organization like the Marines in the late 70s and early 80s. That was a challenge.

(2CW) One question I do have is with regards to the role of the Sniper. To me, if put in this position, with my current psychology, I would find this an extremely difficult thing to do. Yes, we bomb our enemies, we send in missiles, tanks etc, and that I could probably do. Fighting from a distance may be an axiom that shows a level of cowardice on my part, but I can actually understand that type of combat. And yet, thinking of the Sniper, it would seem to me to be a very PERSONAL type of kill. Is it a different head-space, a different psychology / mind-set one must put themselves in? Or is it just a matter of "This guy in my scope has killed / will kill / wants to kill, therefore I have to kill him first." ?

Its incredibly personal and I think that's part of the point of it. The sniper not only kills a target, but in so doing causes terror among those who are nearby and witness what we refer to as "the pink mist" after a good head shot.

(2CW) I once heard someone say in a blog post "Once a Marine - always a Marine". Can you expand on this? Do Marines every actually "retire" as such? Or do you become a Marine in the Burbs :) ?

Actually, by order of the Commandant of the Marine Corps, every Marine who ever served and was honorably discharged or retired is still considered a Marine. There are no ex-Marines or former Marines, there are just Marines.

(2CW) Another phrase I've heard is that the Corps are often referred to as "The Fighting Faggots"... now you HAVE to expand on that one for us all please.

That's an Army slur that in my personal experience is totally true. The Marines appeal to a lot of gay men. Think about it -- if you're a 17 or 18 year old kid who has questions about how you feel sexually, and maybe you've been picked on and you've got something to prove the military is an obvious outlet. Then, pair all that with the fact that the Marines have the best uniforms of all the branches of the military and a justifiable reputation for being an elite fighting force and you've got a place ready made for the young gay boy.

(2CW) How common is male to male contact in the Corps and is viewed as a Gay thing or a Guy / Marine thing?

Its fairly common. Most Marines are fairly circumspect about how they go about it but its a lot more common than many homophobes would like to believe. I never ever had a hard time getting laid while I was in the Marines.

(2CW) There is a tale of a Marine Squad Leader (? right term ?) out on shore leave with is squad in a gay bar when the MP's come in and his squad come to his defence.  On a personal level - I would design build and use a time machine to take me to this spot JUST to see this. Given the attitudes and Code of Military Justice at the time, this was one BALLSY action for those boys to take yes?

My platoon knew I was gay and was ferociously protective of me. Always making sure I never got myself into a situation that could result in problems.

(2CW) Now I am officially out of questions - my own lack of knowledge about the Corps has me spent - but I would very much like you to add whatever you would like to at this point.

Support your local Marine!
(2CW) Now why didn't *I* think of that :)- Support your local Marine/s!

(2CW) Thank you so much for you time and more importantly thank you for your service. You and your brother Marines in the Corps do something many of us / I could never do.

It has been an honour and a privilege to be allowed this glimpse into your time in the Corps and the Corps itself.
  Shalom and blessings on you and all service men and women everywhere...
My pleasure Damien.

Now for those few who HAVEN'T been to Scott's blog - run along over there now... you have NO idea what you are missing.

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