I’m going to be straight up honest with you right now, this article is going to contain some serious thought, a little bit of the absurd, and some less than progressive talk about gender equality. I joined the United States Marine Corps when I was 17 years old and I am unashamed to say that this was the organization that turned me into a man. Did you hear that Sec. of the Navy Ray Mabus, I said man, not person. I then went on to become an infantryman who served with other infantrymen in a war in Iraq where other men were trying to kill me. It was a total sausage fest. However, it was how my entire journey towards becoming a Marine began and I expected no less. With a baby face looking like I was about three days into puberty, I stepped on the yellow footprints to be transformed by a world of men into one of them. But now it would seem that Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus has ordered not only for boot Camp to be gender-integrated, but for many of the long coveted titles of a Marine to be gender neutral. And with that, I bid farewell to my beloved Marine Corps.
The Few The Proud The Marines
Now, before people start complaining that I’m just some sort of crybaby and start pointing out that other branches of the military have long had gender-integrated boot camps, let me remind you that the United States Marine Corps has no desire to be like the other branches. In fact, it’s kind of our thing. Our motto is the few and the proud, not hey fellas we’re just one of the gang like you swell people. I am not the hardest Marine you will ever meet by any standard, but I wrap myself in the reputation of all those who came before us.
When the order came out late last year for all combat jobs to be open to women, the Marine Corps was the only one to apply for an exception. That exception was based on the fact that the Marine Corps had long studied the effects of gender-integrated infantry units. And in every case, not just some, but every single case the integrated units performed far below that of their all-male counterparts. Yes, women should be allowed in the Marines as they serve with honor, but that doesn’t mean we have any less need for men. Call me old fashioned, but I suppose I’ll always hold on to the idea that it does mean something to be a man.
So pardon me for having the audacity to assume war is a winner take all game. Sports are often used just as a shadow or metaphor for war, but I don’t see anyone insisting that the offensive line for their favorite NFL playoff team become gender integrated. I realize that an NFL quarterback might have a higher monetary value on his life but his existence is worth no more than the average Marine willing to fight for his country. But women in the infantry is old news and I’ve written about that at length over the past year. I’m here to talk about the integration of boot camp and the death of my beloved Marine Corps.
Exactly How Does This Work?
Truthfully I’m not really sure how this is going to work. Because part of me says if you going to do it, then you might as well go all the way and do it Starship Trooper style. That’s right men and women showering together, sleeping together, and building unit cohesion together. Because that’s a lot of what Boot Camp is actually about. When you have drill instructors screaming at you to get more recruits under that one showerhead or two and three deep over one urinal, that type of close sausage proximity tends to build a very strange bond. No eye contact, but a bond all the same.
Honestly, if Boot Camp were anything other than the process by which men become warrior Marines it would be the most homoerotic thing you ever saw. Showers and urinals aside it is quite frequent for you to line up in a manner that the drill instructors call A to B, which can also be known as A-hole to belly button. Then there are plenty of times where you sit straddling the Marine right in front of you with the Marine behind you doing the same. You simply can’t ignore the sausage factor when you operate in that type of proximity.
So I guess what the Marine Corps intends is for men and women to have separate accommodations, so much for building the bonds of Marines early on, but train together under what I can only assume would be gender-neutral standards that will have to be lowered if women are to pass. The men will fall out of their barracks and the women will fall out of theirs and they will all meet up on the parade deck of the recruit depot like some sort of Sadie Hawkins dance. Currently, a male Marine must be able to do three pull-ups to pass the test. Let me remind you that only doing three pull-ups will also get you a good deal of mockery from your fellow Marines. Women, on the other hand, have to just hang from the pull-up bar for 15 seconds. Because in war, if you just hang in there in combat, good things will happen on their own right? Or a man will come and help pull you up.
The Title Marine Should Mean Something
I actually still have the Eagle Globe and Anchor that I was handed at the end of the crucible on top of the mountain called the reaper at Camp Pendleton California. It was when I first earned the title, Marine. As I recall it did not come with an asterisk, because there is no asterisk in war. You tend to come back dead or alive with very little room for gray. As such, either you are United States Marine as those who have come before you or you are not. No longer will the Corps make better men and better women, but they will simply make a lesser persons and then ship them off to war.
Women chose the United States Marine Corps because they want the title and all the history that comes with it and they don’t expect it to mean less. If they just wanted to serve somewhere, they would have gone to the Air Force, I promise you. Women Marines have always had my respect for that reason alone. So when you make the process to become a Marine less effective, you hurt those women who through fortitude and bravery chose the Marines above all. It dishonors the standard for the elite club that they sought to join. If you are a lady or a man, and you want to join my beloved Marine Corps through the easy route, then you don’t deserve it whether you have sausage or not. Still though, if you want to find the sausage quickly just stagger an 18-year-old male recruit in between each female recruit below in that A to B line.
It is supposed to suck, it is supposed to be hard, and at times, it is supposed to bring about the natural misery that makes the United States Marine one of the hardest people to kill on the planet. To do anything less and send them to war is criminal and a great American tragedy for the women and the men brave enough to earn the title of United States Marine.
If You Weep at the Thought of Lesser Marines, Men or Women, Like the Unprecedented Mediocrity Page Below. Sausage Not Required!