What It Means to Be a Marine

When did you decide that you wanted a change in your life? When did you want to step up and make a difference? What did it mean to you before you signed the dotted line and raised your right hand to take an oath? Was it worth it? Everyone has their own reason for doing what they do. Everyone has their motives for the decisions they make. Were all different and come from different backgrounds. Some of us from normal lives, some from more satisfied lives, and some from less than satisfactory lives.

But the truth is none of that really matters when your all in the same environment, doing the same things with each other and experiencing a whole different life than what your used to. When you became a United States Marine, what did it mean to you? Everyone’s opinion is different, and everyone has their own beliefs. In this essay I will be discussing what it means to me, to be a Unites States Marine, a little bit of history in being a Marine, how I felt before I became a Marine, and how I feel now.

Like I stated previously, everyone’s views and opinions are different, but were all here in the same mud, well the majority of us are at least. Marines of the past, a far different breed than what they are today. Marines have always been the dominating fighting force in the world since their birth in 1775. They founded their service in a bar, called Tun Tavern in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. A bunch of men tired and pissed off that had enough. So they formed the Marine Corps and took a stand. The Marines of yesterday, were proud, and had a much different mindset and attitude than Marines of today.

My grandfather and his brother are both former Marines, both are Korean war veterans. My great uncle was in the battle of the frozen chosin. He was stabbed in the jugular with a bayonet by a North Korean soldier. While continuing to fight, he managed to stop the bleeding himself until he reached a medical station a few miles away. My great uncle Howard is still alive today, surviving one the hardest battles that Marines have ever fought. To me, he is the ideal image of what a real Marine is, as well as my grandfather.

Both of them are damn proud of being a Marine, and they show it every day. When my grandfather wakes up every morning, he raises the colors on his flag pole with the Marine Corps flag right underneath. He has a Marine Korean Veteran license plate with Marine Stickers on his car. He wears a Marine eight point cover from the era that he served in. The era they both served in and the era that we serve in today are two completely different monsters. After speaking with some Marine veterans, a lot of them aren’t happy with where the Marine Corps is today.

They’ve noticed a change, when asked what’s so different, other than gear issued and the era served in, they’ve all said “a lot of Marines today have no sense of pride”. The Marine Corps has changed, there’s no doubt about that. But is it for the better of worse? When I was growing up, I wanted to be a Marine just like my brother, my grandfather and his brother. My dad was drafted into the Army in Vietnam, he was special forces and served 3 tours there with Marines, Seals, and the C. I. A. So I guess you can say I come from a military family. But I’ve never really actually planned to do it.

I was really big into cars and still am, that’s where I spent most of my time and what I wanted to do with my life. I wasn’t going to join the Marine Corps, but when my senior year came around things went down hill. I kicked myself out of my house (I know it sounds retarded but it’s a long story) and I lived with my best friend and his mom most of my senior year. I was living off of social security that I got when my dad passed away when I was 15. I couldn’t find a job and didn’t have the grades to go to college, or the money, and I realized as soon as I graduated the money I was getting would stop.

I was going down the wrong path in life by some poor decision I was making, and the consequences weren’t worth the risks I was taking. So I talked with my family and friends, and initially decided I needed to do something. I wanted to be an 0311 just like my brother was in the early 2000’s. After telling me some of the daily routines he went through as a grunt, maybe I wanted to go another route. So I thought “motor-t”. I like working on motors and I can still roll with the grunts. So I thought. The couple of months prior to leaving for boot camp, I was really motivated like most people.

My brother had given me a lot of guidance on what boot camp was going to be like. Honestly when I got there, I wasn’t scared. I knew exactly what to do. Two days later I was sent to the hospital because my appendix was about to rupture and had to go into surgery immediately. I was at Paris Island an extra month. When I graduated, I loved being a Marine. Because I felt like I had already made a difference already. MCT, was similar, but I slowly started losing motivation. I was a dumb ass and wore my contacts and 3 days before I graduated I got dropped or pink eye in both eyes. Yes it was my fault and I sucked it up, but another month on Camp Geiger didn’t help. But still I was proud of being a Marine. MOS school went well. I was finally happy to be doing my job and being trained in my MOS. When I found out I was going to Cherry Point, I was furious. It kind of killed everything I had worked for, knowing I was going to the biggest POG base in the Marine Corps. After making fun of me for a while, my brother helped me out and got me back on the right path. I got here May 11th, 2010.

With the unit deployed things were pretty easy to be honest, and being one of the only Lance Corporals in the shop, I tried as much as I could to help out the Corporals and senior Lances that were here. After being called up on a warning order to deploy, I was ecstatic. This is what I was hoping for since before I joined. Well after being jerked around for 3 months and being told I was going, I kinda was pissed off when they said we weren’t. But hey, im a Marine so suck it up and deal with it right?. Today, I honestly have a bit of trouble in finding pride to be a Marine.

I don’t know what has happened or why, but I don’t feel like im making a difference anymore. I don’t want it to be like this, because I am proud that im Marine, and trust me I don’t let anyone who’s not a Marine talk down on us, but its hard sometimes remembering why I did it. Lately I’ve been messing up, not caring, and that’s not how I am. Reguardless of how much I hate things at times, I know im not the only one putting up with it. And when my time comes and I get out, whether it be 2 more years or 20, I know I’ll be proud of what I did, even though I may not see it now.

What we all deal with on a daily basis, the mickey mouse games, the late nights, retarded field days. That’s a part of what makes us Marines. The Marine Corps isn’t about having fun all the time, and enjoying every aspect of life. If it was then everyone would be here. Its about doing a job that most people don’t want to do. Like they say, “you sign the line, you do the time”. It may not be what you thought, and for most of us it isn’t. But were here, were in it, were a part of it, and we are it. So might as well make the best of it, and take pride in what we do, even if it is picking up weeds with a screw driver.

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