Marine Sergeant’s response to Soldier’s claim of Marine arrogance

So, my last post about the Marine Corps being ranked the worst service branch to join generated a ton of traffic and comments, and in seemingly perfect alignment with the theme of that post, a fellow Marine alerted me to this post:

Marine Sergeant’s response to Soldier’s claim of Marine arrogance.

Go read it and come back here and leave a comment if you feel so inclined. I’m really digging this growing community we have on this site.  (Hat tip to Joshua LXXXI‏@Blueberrier0341 for the heads up about the article above.)

Keep the faith,

Stan R. Mitchell

Oak Ridge, Tenn.

P.S. If you enjoy fast-paced books, you just might like my works. “Sold Out” tracks the life of a legendary Marine Sniper after a CIA unit decides to kill him for reasons of national security. “Little Man, and the Dixon County War” tells the uphill fight a young deputy faces after surviving three years of war only to find himself in the sights of a mighty cattle baron. And “Soldier On,” a short novel, follows the lives of several German soldiers in a depleted infantry company trying to make it through the final, miserable months of World War II.

14 Comments

Filed under Marine Corps

14 responses to “Marine Sergeant’s response to Soldier’s claim of Marine arrogance

  1. Nancy England

    Stan, I wouldn’t dream of arguing the value of Marines. And yes, you definitely have that stand-tall demeanor. To say nothing of grit and determination. The only problem I have is that I cannot imagine you as a “killing machine.”

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    • Thanks for the kind words, Nancy! And you have to remember, by the time you met me, I had been out for probably four or five years.

      Had you met me when I first got out, you’d have found me an asshole who stared everybody down and who couldn’t fit in.

      I struggled to make friends in college after my discharge. I felt most were a bunch of spoiled brats spending their parents money with glee, and yet they were having so much fun, and I couldn’t loosen up. And I couldn’t shake the fact that they all took it so for granted. And I’d argue with them in classes where current issues were discussed like a complete asshole.

      And since we had lost a man, and since none of them had ANY clue what we had been through, I constantly found myself just angry at them and then angry at myself, that I had been duped into serving and no one seemed to give a shit. I would talk with my buddies about that and they felt the same. We almost hated civilians, and almost hated professors even more, and we felt it nearly impossible to fit in.

      By the time you met me, a lot of people had helped smooth down the edges. And honestly, on the killing machine part, I’ve not changed much. From the pull up bar, to the heavy bag in my study, to the martial arts classes I take, I can’t ever shake the fact that I must be ready. For what? I don’t know. Anything and everything. I often even wished I had been on those planes on 9/11, so I could have taken on those assholes. And that’s a crazy thought. There were a bunch of them, and they had knives, and yet I would have volunteered to go after them even that outnumbered and with the odds that stacked against me.

      Statistically, with what I know about knife fighting, I know I couldn’t have prevailed, and yet I think I could have through aggression and training. That’s why I think most Marines are crazy. Well, let me not generalize. I w/o question am crazy, and all my buddies who served in the infantry are crazy.

      On a good day, I think this craziness makes me a great American. But on a bad day, I just wish I could be normal like everyone else. And not feel guilty if I skip a day of exercise or training.

      Well, I’ve said too much and probably exposed even more, and the length of what I’ve said probably just further proves how crazy at least I am. : ) Just don’t get a psychologist to read it. They’d probably put me in a padded room.

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  2. God Bless our Marines, and all our men and women in uniform. When they put on that uniform, I hope all are proud. I hate to see any branch of service disrespect their uniform, and shame their country. Although I was Army, I get a thrill when I see Marines standing tall and sharp in theirs. They deserve to be proud.

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    • Hey Tom,

      Glad to see you’re back and leaving comments, hanging with us jarheads! It’s doubly nice to know I’ve met a fellow writer who’s been in harm’s way.

      Thanks as always for dropping another comment and I wanted to say that I plan to try to connect with you better once I get several of these monkeys off my back. (Right now, they’re just pounding away at me and — don’t tell them — winning… Too bad for them I packed a box lunch and don’t know when I’m beat!)

      SF!
      Stan

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  3. Robert Riding

    Hi Stan,
    I spent four years active duty as a Marine and 26 years active duty in USN. With all that Navy time, my heart still belongs to the United States Marine Corps! I graduated boot camp MCRD San Diego Feb 1968, then, after ITR, got orders to OCS, Quantico on the Enlisted Commissioning Program. Went to VN in June ’69 as an 08 but because of wonderful training in Basic School was able to serve, when needed, as an 03 PC for a month while in country. Because of that month of combat experience, as a PC, I learned to more fully appreciate USMC OCS, where we were all taught, at TBS, to be ’03’s first. After 23 weeks of this basic infantry officer training, many of us went on to other MOS’s. I went to Fort Sill OK for 08 artillery training before going to VN. At Fort Sill, we Marine 2nd LT’s, though few in numbers, were the more fit, the best dressed (all our uniforms were tailored – not purchased off the shelf), and of the top 15 graduates from FAOBC, 11 were Marine 2nd Lt’s. I was so very proud to be there at Fort Sill, a huge Army base, and, even though we Marines were a decided minority, to see and feel the ” backhanded respect” the USMC got!
    I laughed out loud when I first read the quote from “Flags of Our Fathers” pg 71: “I learned that Marines never leave their dead and wounded behind, officers always eat last, the U. S. Army is chickenshit in battle, the Navy is worse, and the Air Force is barely even on our side.”
    While in USN, as a Dental Officer, it was great to write on my application for residency training in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, “former Marine Officer with combat experience in Vietnam”. I’m no great scholar and I’m absolutely certain that having had USMC combat experience in VN, and being able to document that on my application, is what got me accepted for my residency training at Naval Hospital San Diego.
    Today, many years later, I’m still practicing Oral Surgery, I love what I do and I owe it all to the USMC!! (and, my wife thinks I’m whacked and obsessed because of all the USMC logo apparel I wear. . .)

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    • Mr. Riding,

      Thanks so much for your comment and your service to our country! Even with those 26 years of Navy Time, I find it completely believable that your heart still belongs to the Corps! I just don’t think that’s something that anyone can shake!

      Speaking of the Navy, I will say that my six months on ship — and one other month we spent as part of another exercise — taught me that I cannot handle the officer culture of the Navy. There’s just too much of a separate class feeling for me to appreciate. A “we’re better than you, gangway, you don’t rate speaking to or acknowledging” feeling.

      Perhaps my impressions are off. Perhaps it’s because I was comparing them to our outstanding officers. And who knows… Perhaps this derives from centuries of Naval tradition and fears of mutinies, and perhaps it’s how it must be on-board ship. I don’t know, but I think the disrespect — and segregation — I regularly witnessed was enough to convince me that there’s no way I could have handled the Navy.

      SF!
      Stan

      P.S. I’d love any insight to Naval Officer culture that you might want to share, or if I’m way off base, would you mind correcting my point of view? I really don’t want to appear ignorant or look stupid.

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    • HJF

      Generally still true at FA OBC. They graduate tomorrow, you should check how many top grads they have in this go round. What you say was also true in ’83, Army partied, Marines studied the craft. Advice to my Daughter for this years class was to find the Marine study group and see if they’d allow Army participation. “they won’t be the brightest but in the end they will find a way to graduate at the top of the class”.

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    • Listen-I was never able to wear the title US Marine. It is my life´s biggest regret. I was in NROTC one year at Holy Cross-was #2 in my unit´s PFT-Hey-heck I beat other Marines?!! but wished I had only finished HS and signed up to TRY to make it through basic at Parris Island. I have always loved the marines and had a few for bosses. basically they are really good guys. I named one of my kids for the late Lt. Paul McIntosh whose life was pretty much ruined by his severe mortar shrapnel wounds in Vietnam. marines seem tough, kind selfless and dont take themselves too seriously-or maybe have I been lucky? I have also seen marines act like big jerks but even still they were great guys that I much appreciated.

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      • Bill,

        Really appreciate the comment, and your support for the Corps and our military servicemembers. And I wasn’t aware of the story of Lt. Paul McIntosh. Thank you for honoring him by naming one of your kids after him, and by mentioning his name here.

        Sincerely yours,
        Stan

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  4. Without a doubt the Marine Corps is different than all the other branches
    of service!
    The Corps mission is simple:
    To kill the enemy!
    I was proud to serve in the 1st MARDIV1
    Gung Ho

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  5. Ronald E West Corpral USMC 1968-1979

    You boast about America home of the brave land of the free . You curse the Marines and the protection we provide as a cover . When you go to bed at night an pull the cover over your head an sleep comfortable , just remember what branch of Service made it possible ! USMC . Stop your complaining an just thanks . Otherwise I suggest you stand the borders with a rifle an obtain constant visual for terrorist .

    Like

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