Flabbergasted might be the appropriate word to describe the feeling I had when I read this week the Marine Corps is considering letting high-tech capable citizens skip boot camp and just lateral over to their job in the Marine Corps. As in a top notch programmer from Facebook decides it would be cool to be a Marine and so they apply, get lateraled in as a Sergeant and voila, instant Marine. This is not a joke, this is not a Duffleblog article, this is serious policy being considered by our beloved Corps and I pray to Saint Mattis that it is never to be. It was 20 years ago nearly to the month I stepped on the yellow footprints as a baby-faced 17-year-old with nary a pube of which to speak. Platoon 1107 on June 2nd 1997 was the cocoon from which this Marine was birthed. But now you are telling me that this coveted title could be given out, rank imputed on the man, and charge given to lead Marines? May it never be! I feel we who’ve earned the title have been hoodwinked and bamboozled. We didn’t land on Iwo Jima Rock, Iwo Jima Rock landed on us. Look, I know we need nerds to fight modern warfare, but let’s give them their appropriate title rather than dilute that of Marine. Take it away Ogre, Neerrrrrddddddddsss! Because a Marine by any other name should still be a Marine and nothing else.
C’mon Guys, Boot Camp Aint That Hard
Now it’s true, at the time a young man steps on the yellow footprints Marine Corps Recruit Training will likely be the toughest thing they have ever done in their lives. And yes, when we get home we do our bootest duty to make it sound like we descended into the bowels of Hell and tangoed with three devils wearing big round hats. But the truth is guys, boot camp ain’t that bad. Certainly not in light of what Marines do on active duty following it and certainly not in light of a deployment to war. There are the occasional people who through medical, mental health, or just poor decisions don’t make it through boot camp. But just about everyone can make it if they wanted. It’s not that bad people.
Which is why it perplexes me that we would go so far out of our way to exempt the latest generation of high tech nerds from it? For while it is not that bad, it is transformative process which unites every Marine past, present, and future. I absolutely would not want to be the one Marine in the room who never actually earned the title. You think the Grunt versus POG debate is bad, wait till you throw in the POMs into the mix. That’s persons other than Marines.
There is one road that leads to earning the title Marine and it is not broad and paved with easy rank. Rather, its narrow and paved with history, hazing, and homoerotic formations of men in tight green shorts. There simply is no other way. What exactly is the point of joining the Marine Corps if you don’t get to become a Marine? And make no mistake about it my little nerdy friends, you will never be a Marine unless you earn that title the right way. I don’t care if you blow up nuclear silos by hacking into North Korean computers, or if you can predict the exact location of an enemy ambush because you are Rain Man with numbers and probabilities. You want to be called a Marine then earn it.
Every Marine a Rifleman
That’s more than a mantra POGs repeat as they cry themselves to sleep at night. Every Marine has a certain portion of the reputation and legacy of our beloved Corps to fulfill. That’s why I refuse to trust my life in combat to the “Marine” next to me who has never had to sword fight his cock to be one of 3 or 4 using the same urinal at the same time. How do I know you have my back if I’ve never felt your little chub on my backside when the Dis line us up A to B? Yeah, I told you bootcamp was pretty homoerotic.
The point is that there is base standard from which we can draw a certain amount of trust. Throwing on the uniform and rank simply doesn’t automatically impute that upon you. Rather it dilutes what Marines can come to expect from their fellow Marines. Moreover, if the Marine Corps needs your high-tech skills that bad you should be negotiating way better pay than enlisted bread crumbs. Be a civilian contractor, put on your white shirts with pocket protects and make the big bucks. Don’t throw your fat fragile bodies into a set of Dress Blues and try to act the part.
If you want to serve your country with your high tech skills then great. You will likely kill more bad guys with your death ray fired from the moon than the average grunt. But you still don’t get to become a Marine because someone said you were. Or just go join the Coast Guard because no one cares about them anyway. Negotiate for those higher salaries, be the contractor and then buy the Marines a round of beers at the end of the day. At least then you will have our respect. But throw on that Eagle, Globe, and Anchor simply because momma bought you your first computer when you were 8? I don’t think so buddy. A Marine by any other name better be a Marine. We might need nerds to win the next war, but your tattoo better say Lambda Lambda Lambda and not USMC. Even Bea Arthur earned the title my friends and her panties are none too happy at the current news. Don’t be the first “Marine” not to earn the title. I promise you, that’s not the guy you want to be and it’s not what a Marine would do.
If You Think the Title of Marine Should Be Earned Like the Unprecedented Mediocrity Facebook Page Below. Otherwise you are a Nerd.