I completely acknowledge that I am about to open up Pandora’s box of the good ole Grunt versus POG debate, but something must be said. The ASVAB of course is the test every member of the military must take before gaining entrance to the military. As the story goes, the higher your score the more technical jobs you can get. Then, there is the old adage if you can at least sign your name to the top, well, then I guess you can be a Grunt. To those who hold that belief, I would just like to say, Grunt no likey. Yes, I am a Grunt and I will tell you my mediocre Grunt story. But first, I need to tell you about the hidden ASVAB score of every Grunt.
When I took the ASVAB in 1997 I scored pretty dang good. Like, the recruiter literally told me I could have any job in the military I wanted. What is funny, is that I can remember at Marine Corps Bootcamp a day where they took a good number of us that they assumed were smart or something and had us take some sort of code breaking test or something. Honestly, my memory of that is vague, but I just assumed they were trying to find out if any one of us was Rain Man or something. Needless to say, I was not.
However, I graduated in the top ten of my High School, took all those advanced classes that I use absolutely zero to this day, and I am a Grunt. Why? Because I’m lucky. Despite being College bound, I wanted to be a Marine and the reserves were the route for me. When you join the Reserves you pretty much get the MOS of the unit closest to you and thankfully for me, Memphis, TN was home to Kilo Company 3rd Battalion, 23rd Marines. And more specifically, my beloved 2nd Platoon. Infantry ladies and gentlemen would be my home in the Corps.
Now, I confess this would have meant a lot less had I never deployed to Iraq, but I did, walked the streets of Iraq, went pew pew pew a few times, and if you don’t like my reservist gruntiness you can suck it. But the point is, I had no idea at age 17 just how fortunate I was to be Infantry. Truthfully, I am extremely thankful for the recruiter who says, “Screw it, join the Infantry.” That is how you know you have an honest recruiter.
Really Smart Grunts
But that is not really the point. The fact that I took Physics and stuff in High School didn’t really help me at all in Iraq and if you are honest and your kids aren’t watching, some of that crap didn’t help you in American civilian life either. Recruiters are a funny thing and if any are reading this blog, I would love your input.
You see, I don’t have a problem with POGs. I wrote about this in my article, A POG by any Other Name. POGs serve a purpose and to be honest, a lot of them could have easily been Grunts if a recruiter didn’t whisper honey in their ear that some technical admin job was their calling because they scored high on the ASVAB. I would classify this as their first introduction to the big green weenie! Still though, some men with giant balls said who cares, send me to the Infantry.
Terminal Lance is one of the most famous Grunts around these days and by his own admission he could have gotten such jobs. Rather, he chose the Grunts. Me, I was lucky. But others, despite remarkably high ASVAB scores, they chose to walk the streets of Iraq with a weapon and I salute that. But still, this is not the point of the article. Because I am here to tell you an indisputable fact of war. Grunts are freaking, Steven Hawking incarnate, minus the wheelchair, not sure if that is insensitive, I really don’t know, too late, let’s move on. Too bold? Well, I got test results to prove it and it ain’t on no stinking ASVAB.
The Hidden ASVAB Score
War is complex. Sorry, but it is hardly as simple as shooting the bad guy in front of you. Rather it is more possibly shooting the guy in front of you who might have a gun, but might have a falafel instead and a couple of kids behind them while you risk the lives of those around you for your indecisiveness. But hey, don’t worry about him, worry about the 1,000 other people roaming about this very minute who might want to kill you. Is your comm programmed right? Are you certain when you call in that air support it won’t land on a school instead of the enemy?
Let me tell you something, I might be a smart guy according to the ASVAB, but If I had to call in fire in Iraq, I am hoping the Harriers could figure it out when I said, “Go blow up those guys down yonder.” I am from the south after all. But this test score, this brilliance, could never be measured in a classroom or on a standardized test. The Battlefield is the proving ground and don’t act surprised, for it has only been so for all of human existence. Brilliance and genius saves lives! Stupidity, gets men killed. Now what do you want to tell me about the ASVAB?
Modern Warfare, is hard stuff ladies and gentlemen. The ASVAB will tell you some, but it will not tell you if a man’s brain can process the complexities of modern war. By far, others did it so much better than me. I tell you, I would have been a better General than squad leader because I like to take my time. But some men are so intrinsically brilliant, they can process the modern battlefield in 20 seconds to save the lives of the men they love. I wish that was me, but if I am honest, I am lacking. I did my job as a Grunt, but I will take my high ASVAB score to the grave knowing I fought with Steven Hawkings and Albert Einstein’s when it mattered most in life. I didn’t have it like they did and I am not ashamed to admit it. Why, because they were freaking geniuses and half of them probably even had the ASVAB score to prove it.
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