USMC SCHOOL OF INFANTRY
Today Dec. 11, 2007, my wife and I went to my grandson’s graduation ceremony at Camp Pendelton from The School of Infantry. Four-hundred-twenty young men completed their final preliminary training in becoming MARINES. Four platoons consisting of 80+ men marched out onto the parade deck and stood at ease as the Company Commander read the reports and greeted the attending families. A brief description of the activities for the last twenty two days was given. After a final call to attention they were dismissed. My grandson had only about fifteen Minutes to visit with us then he had to hustle to his quarters and process his gear to the buses. He was shipping out immediately for Twenty-Nine Palms to begin his MOS training. He joined us in the Mess Hall for lunch where he only ate about half of his meal before hustling of to board the buss.
He was supposed to be assigned to Electrical Communications Repair School in North Carolina. His paper work came down as a radio operator, a grunt in the lines. I asked him “did you even try to get it changed to what you signed up for?”, He said “not too hard, I kinda want to go” . I understand the Gung-Ho Marine attitude, but now I will be worrying about him a lot sooner. By the time I sat down to write this I imagine he is esconed in his new quarters and will have received his new issue of weapons and web gear.
I got to see some of the new equipment and weapons they trained with in the School of Infantry. The first thing they put on is the vest. It is pretty heavy in itself. It had an insert that can absorb three 7.62 rounds before cracking and also has a back and two side plates. Over this goes the pack and frame – the pack with required equipment weighs in at 40 pounds – then whatever the Marine wants to carry as personal items – clean socks, underwear, t-shirts, what ever. Add to this his weaponry and ammo, plus three canteens of water. Plus my grandson will now add the weight of a field radio. Luckily most of the time at this time of the year Twenty-nine Palms won’t bee too hot, mater of fact it can get damn cold there, especially at night.
By this time these young men have had over forty hours of US Marine Corps Martial Arts Training. Hand to hand, offence and defensive, knife and bayonet (The bayonet they now have serves as a knife, it’s as good as the old K-BAR). And as previously mentioned the First Aid Training is way beyond the scope of what we had fifty years ago.
Here I just want to say again, to the naysayers who complain that the marines are too soft on the recruits today – shut up, step back and take a look at these fine young men. They are better equipped and better trained than I was fifty years ago. They are trained and equipped to do the job. Just get the G–dammed politicians out of the military and let them do the job. Amen – getting off my soap box and hibernating for now. This damn computer room is an ice box.