Tag Archive: Marine Corps


Marines are Kind of Like the Jedi

A senior Marine once taught me that being a Marine is kind of like being a Jedi. We are kind of like a strange little culture within a much larger culture. We are a bit extreme in our beliefs, some would say fanatical, and have a strange ability to bring about the destruction of evil as if guided by some supernatural force.  But there is so much more. I would like to share some of that with you now.

Marines can be broken into a few groups: Officers, Senior Staff Non-Commissioned Officers, Non-Commissioned Officers, and the E-3 and below.  All of these have a copy somewhere in the followers of the force. Check out the story below to see what I mean.

Take yourself back to countless Monday morning formations and inspections. Each member of the platoon is carrying his different roles. The squads are aligned and the inspections are about to begin. Suddenly there is a disturbance in the force…

PFC Rice heads to formation. As he makes his way to the formation, he realizes he has forgotten his chevrons, the symbol of his rank and his ignorance.  In his haste to correct the error before the formation, he puts his chevrons on his collar… nearly an inch from the edges.  (People not familiar with Marine Corps fanaticism might overlook this detail.  So did Rice.)  He is unaware of the gravity of his mistake and doesn’t have time to correct it.  “They’re small so maybe no one will notice,” he thinks to himself.  But he doesn’t yet understand the power of the Corps and what a great disturbance he has made within it.

I know it’s hard to see, but it’s there on the collar. You’ll see it next time.

The Non-NCO, or  The Padawan Learner:  The youngest members of the Marine Corps, these are the enlisted personnel, rank E-3 and below.  While still Marines, they are still learning their roles. They are unfamiliar with the intricacies of the Corps,  its subtle rules, and its customs and are not yet fully aware of the great and terrible power they could one day command. They also screw up a lot, and if left on their own too long they would easily lop off their arm with a lightsaber. They are sometimes dangerous in their incompetence and can bring about the downfall of the entire platoon, bringing about endless field days, blaster cleaning, and the fall of The Republic. The most dangerous can be those most senior, the Senior Lance. This is the one who has passed all of his Jedi Trials, but hasn’t got the cutting score. He has grown very powerful and a master of his trade and his role of the the senior LCpl.  He commands a deep underground of knowledge and intuition (the Lance Corporal Network). He has the ability to mind-trick more senior Marines and those weak in the Corps to achieve his aims. He is still young though, and weak with the Corps,  but his terrible power and lack of understanding of the Corps will be his downfall. If his cutting score doesn’t merit promotion he will soon fall to the dark side. Still though, he isn’t as much a threat as the youngling, the boot PFC who just arrived three weeks ago straight from the school house…

A Sergeant is preparing to inspect his squad. He is a seasoned warrior and well-trained in the ways of the Corps. He still has much to learn, but the Corps is strong with him. He feels a tremor coming from the Corps. He knows something is wrong with his squad. He begins to inspect his Marines. He walks down the line of Marines. As he inspects his more senior Marines his senses are screaming. He is about to arrive at the last Marine, Rice. He is the boot PFC who has just arrived and knows nothing of the ways of the Corps. The Sergeant hopes that he is wrong, but knows this is the source of the disturbance. He left faces and to his dismay the Marine has carelessly placed his rank insignia nowhere near the designated 1/2′ and centered! He has offensively dishonored the Corps and its customs and traditions. By appearing in less than presentable attire he has offended the Corps and is in need of correction from one of its noble knights.

The NCO, Sergeant, and the Corporal are those wise and seasoned in the ways of the Corps.  They are like the Jedi Knight.  He has completed his training and is now mastering the ways of the Corps. He understands the Corps and is guided by its pull.  He has yet to gain full control of its power.  Mastery is still beyond his reach.  He has, however, a great sense for a disturbance and is the front line galactic warrior against the dark side of the Corps, the raw youngling PFC’s.  His power is great, but it pales in comparison to the abilities of the true master of the force…

 The Gunnery Sergeant sits at his desk. He feels the disturbance in the Corps and seeks to correct it. He stands up and walks to the window overlooking the platoon off in the distance. He leans out the window, and as if guided by supernatural forces yells, “RICE! Correct yourself!”

With this he begins his work in preparation for the duel that is soon to come with the dark side of the Corps.

The Senior Non-Commissioned Officer, known by many names like “The Gunny“, “Top”, “Master Gun” and “The Sgt. Major.”  He is the Jedi Master of the Corps.  His service stripes serve as symbols to the brave knights and Padawan PFC’s in his years of service fighting the forces of darkness.  He has supreme command of the Corps and uses its power to command and mold the Marines within his care.  He is attuned to even the slightest disturbances in the Corps, and is able to spot any dangerous situation, be it an enemy ambush, or the PFC using his lightsaber to fix the haircut he forgot to get on Sunday.  His charge is t0 carry out the daily mission of the Corps and see that its will is seen through.  But there is one more element to the force, one that stands opposed to the nature of the Jedi Master of the Corps.  Those who fallen to the dark side of the Corps…

He is the Lieutenant.  As he makes his way to the formation, he anticipates with a sinister glee the duel with the enlisted Jedi warriors. He has been secretly scheming, hidden away in offices away from the eyes of the noble and stalwart knights. As the Marines are distracted with this minor disturbance in the force, he is able to clandestinely manueveur to catch them unawares.  In his ambitious march to supreme power of the Corps, he is preparing for the arrival of his master, the General… or rather, the Dark Sith Lord.

Yes, Officers are the Sith. They have given up the noble path of the enlisted Jedi for power and glory. While they may have once thought they could control the power of the dark side of the Corps for good, as they all do they fell to its grandeur and corrupting power. They are selected from amongst the most powerful and impressionable of candidates. Given special training, power and privileges, they are in command of the most powerful of dark Corps abilities: Surprise inspections, field days, weapons cleanings and the 11th hour mission orders in the prospects of gaining supreme glory. Have you ever wondered why the other Marines salute? They raise their right hand when they pass officers to protect their minds from the influence of their manipulating dark powers. Just warning you.

So as they prepare for their duel, the the Masters of the Corps square off in front of the platoon. The mighty Jedi Master Gunnery Sergeant stands ably with the platoon of noble warriors behind him. Facing him is the corrupt and vile master of the dark side of the Corps. They stare each other down. The Gunny raises his right hand to protect himself from the treacherous powers of the Lieutenant. He then warns the Lieutenant away by listing the size and strength of his force “All Marines present and accounted for.” The Lieutenant is scared. He sees that he is outmatched. As a desperate bid to cover his mistake, he issues a series of senseless orders to command the Marines’ attention while he prepares a new plan. He executes his plan “Carry out the plan of the day” (said another way: “Do what must be done.”) With his distractions in place the Lieutenant makes his escape, hiding away into the dark places where he builds his schemes of galactic domination. This battle won, the Gunny takes his men and begins to undo the plans of the Lieutenant, setting his Marines to the tasks at hand.

Yep, so that’s how it is. The Marines are like Jedi and now you know why.

The Nice List

I wanted to lighten up a little with this post and mention some organizations out there that I feel that we all need to keep close to our heart and in our thoughts this Christmas season. I am calling this “The Nice List”.

Toys for Tots, for those who don’t know, is the official charity backed by the United States Marine Corps. The organization was began by a major in the Marines in 1947. The organization collects toys for underprivileged children. You have seen the boxes around so you know how easy it is to drop off a new toy. Perhaps you’ve seen some of their commercials. “Are you Santa Claus?” If you don’t well up when the kid hands over his letter you’re a monster. Come on people, the Marines need your help. This is the only thing we really enjoy being good at that doesn’t involve womanizing or killing people, and it’s for the kids.

Lego – For the first part, Lego is better than _______(<<<Insert any awesome thing here) . Let’s face it, if you didn’t play with Legos as a kid then you missed out. I used to love playing for hours with my pile of Legos on the living room table. Legos are equivalent to a magical place where children can create a world populated by pirate rocketships, castles with race car refueling stations and dragons with laser beams on their heads. If I only had the chance I would take a few decades off my years and be that six year old all over again. Now I am just trying to get my nephew to develop an interest in the art (yeah, I said art.) He “engineered” his first Helicopter Car last time I visited. I never loved him more. This year it is even better. This year Lego is partnering with Toys for Tots. Follow this link and you can send an E-Card to your friends. For every card you send out Lego will donate 1 toy to Toys for Tots, up to 1 million toys. Right now they are at 345,897. Still have a long way to go with not a lot of time.

The last group I want to keep in your thoughts are the Marines themselves. I should say the whole military, they have all earned your consideration, but I have my biases. I served with the Marines and experienced Christmases in some far away desert. If you have a Marine, soldier, sailor or airmen in your life let them know you are thinking of them, especially the deployed ones.  When we are safe and warm by our trees and our presents, just keep in mind our troops and especially the Marines.

So I am asking all my Marine Corps friends and everyone else out there reading as well to also spread the news and support three great organizations with three very important missions this Christmas Season.

-Semper Fi and Merry Christmas

Jon

I think that the extra pink with fuzzy sides is perfect for you corporal.

(Edited Dec 21, 2011) I also wanted to add this link. It features soldiers debating on choosing Hello Kitty or My Little Poney. No but seriously they out collecting toys for toys-for-tots so they earn an Ooh-rah for that.


I am writing this post to my fellow Marines out there. I am suggesting, though I am not the first, that a discussion regarding the status of formal Marine Corp Academy be created.

To begin with, I am a former Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps. I had two tours in Iraq and feel that gives me the right to pose the question, “Why is it that the Marines’ do not have their own formal Academy?”
Currently officers in the United States Marines who have received academy training come from Annapolis. This is the site of United States Naval Academy. For its history Marine Officers were selected from every class of Naval Academy graduates. Officers have been trained in all the standard courses that a sailor would need to begin their career. They are also briefed on what would be necessary to be a Marine, if that were to happen.
While I understand the nature that we rely on the navy for the greatest part of our mission success in a traditional engagement, we have evolved. We are the force in readiness that is the reach of the United States military on every corner of the globe. We do this by piggy backing on Navy vessels around the world. There is no location so far from the sea that a Marine boot can’t land in a matter of minutes. But then things change. For decades now, since the Korean conflict, entire wars have been fought where there is no obvious link between the Marines and their sailor counterparts. Our tactics have evolved to show this. The way we fight now resembles more of an aggressive version of the Army rather than a land version of the Navy.
This has made sense for many years, centuries really. Now though I am concerned about the future of the Corps. In the future of warfare it is questionable to me what the role of the Navy will be. With expanding technological innovation leading the way for remote warfare, the Marines’ ever increasing ground roles, and build up of our direct to the fight capabilities like the Osprey and the SuperCobra attack helicopters how can we continue to rely on the same fundamental training as before?
Part is this the issue of whether or not the Marines should have their own academy. I have heard some arguments for and against this. Some arguments are that this would increase esprit de corps and refine our distinctive culture. Another aspect that I don’t hear mentioned is a new headquarters for the Marine Corps University. This would create a new center for military learning and new theory development concerning Marine tactics and strategy. The best minds in the Marine Corps would be gathered to create the plans that will be instilled in new leaders, hopefully giving us new capabilities that will save Marine lives and ensure mission success.
Cons involve new funds being diverted, a lot of them. And since, last I checked, the Marine Corps only rates 3% of Navy budget, this may be a very large obstacle to overcome. Beyond the fiscal realities are the issues of is this even a good idea? Are we discounting the benefits of the current system? The minds of some the best military leaders are already available in the form Naval professors. And as much as I like to make fun of the sailors, they are a fine group of young cadets to pull from for our future officers. Further, would a break such as this result in a breakdown of our fundamental function, be the first to fight and those who secure the beachhead? If we break from our Naval brothers we may lose a great deal of the teamwork necessary for this type of mission success.
Would this be a tool to continually evolve the Marine Corps in their continually changing role? Would this help the Marines to grow and prosper by refining our already distinctive and world famous culture?

I am writing this post to my fellow Marines out there. I am suggesting, though I am not the first, that a discussion regarding the status of a formal Marine Corps Academy be created.

To begin with, I am a former Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps. I had two tours in Iraq and feel that gives me the right to pose the question, “Why is it that the Marines do not have their own formal Academy?”
Currently officers in the United States Marines who have received academy training come from Annapolis. This is the site of United States Naval Academy. For its history Marine Officers were selected from every class of Naval Academy graduates. Officers have been trained in all the standard courses that a sailor would need to begin their career. They are also briefed on what would be necessary to be a Marine, if that were to happen.
While I understand the nature that we rely on the Navy for the greatest part of our mission success in a traditional engagement, we have evolved. We are the force in readiness that is the reach of the United States military on every corner of the globe. We do this by piggy backing on Navy vessels around the world. There is no location so far from the sea that a Marine boot can’t land in a matter of minutes. But then things change. For decades now, since the Korean conflict, entire wars have been fought where there is no obvious link between the Marines and their sailor counterparts. Our tactics have evolved to show this. The way we fight now resembles more of an aggressive version of the Army rather than a land version of the Navy.
This has made sense for many years, centuries really. Now though I am concerned about the future of the Corps. In the future of warfare it is questionable to me what the role of the Navy will be. With expanding technological innovation leading the way for remote warfare, the Marines’ ever increasing ground roles, and build up of our direct to the fight capabilities like the Osprey and the SuperCobra attack helicopters how can we continue to rely on the same fundamental training as before?
Part is this the issue of whether or not the Marines should have their own academy. I have heard some arguments for and against this. Some arguments are that this would increase esprit de corps and refine our distinctive culture. Another aspect that I don’t hear mentioned is a new headquarters for the Marine Corps University. This would create a new center for military learning and new theory development concerning Marine tactics and strategy. The best minds in the Marine Corps would be gathered to create the plans that will be instilled in new leaders, hopefully giving us new capabilities that will save Marine lives and ensure mission success.
Cons involve new funds being diverted, a lot of them. And since I last checked, the Marine Corps only rates 3% of Navy budget, this may be a very large obstacle to overcome. Beyond the fiscal realities are the issues of is this even a good idea? Are we discounting the benefits of the current system? The minds of some the best military leaders are already available in the form Naval professors. And as much as I like to make fun of the sailors, they are a fine group of young cadets to pull from for our future officers. Further, would a break such as this result in a breakdown of our fundamental function, be the first to fight and those who secure the beachhead? If we break from our Naval brothers we may lose a great deal of the teamwork necessary for this type of mission success.
Would this be a tool to continually evolve the Marine Corps in their continually changing role? Would this help the Marines to grow and prosper by refining our already distinctive and world famous culture?
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