LUNCH WITH MY FAVORITE MARINE
On Wednesday, yesterday I finally had our lunch together, My new Marine grandson and I. My wife was not feeling well and wanted us to have some quality time together as old and new Marines. That young man can eat and do so with gusto. After what was a rather long lunch we then dropped over to the nearby indoor shooting range so he could get some practice in with my model 70, 1911, .45 automatic Colt pistol, where he burned up about 150 r0unds. It kinda bummed him that the old man could still out group him, but like I told him I have been doing this a lot longer than you have. I have owned a >45 Colt since 1965.
Any way back to the Lunch and his accounts of boot camp. First let me tell all you older inactive Marines who have been grousing that the kids are not getting the training we got. BULLSHIT, these young men are learning things we never had the opportunity to learn. Of course they have more scientific advances than we had in y day. There was a strong emphases on first aid, way beyound what was available in my day. and when I went through our class was breif and short with just a written test afterwards. These kids were drilled all though the whole twelve weeks and started almost from the git-go.
He was surprised that I knew some of what he learned. but Readers Digest just had a spread several months ago on the new stuff available to our service personnel. I cannot remember names of the stuff but it is impressive. Say for instance a person has a serious bleeding wound there is a dressing that is placed on the uncovered wound that adheres to the wound and actually sort of bounds to the skin and wound and has a coagulating property in it and basically stops the bleeding ever of a artery. the attached dressing then wraps around the limb and the dressing package is placed under the last wrap to let the secondary med. personnel know that it has been applied. after stretching in place and automatically applying pressure on the dressing it is good to go.
There is also a dressing for a open chest wound. After looking to see it there is a exit wound the area is uncovered and a similar dressing is applied that instantly seals off the wound and stops in leakage of air from the wound. and administers a like med. and then this dressing has a long tailed stretchable wraparound bandage that is streaked around the body and the dressing package placed under the last wrap also.
He covered chemical burns and at least five in all. tests they learned tpo preform. They practiced on dummies who were realistic, and on each other. When given a dummy of student they were not told what the injury was but had to inspect , discover and treat under the watchful eye of a instructor. My grandson so excelled at this he was used as a instructor and tester. Yeah I know it sounds like I’m blowing his horn, but he has always been like that. At the age of three he was auguring with my wife that the steel rods at a construction site around the corner were not steel rods but re-bar. When my wife told me about it I had to tell her he was technical right. And at six sitting in a Gemco at the time, he was looking at a poster for in-line skates. He then told his Mom if replacement wheels are $6 apiece then four for one skate would be $24 and a full set would be$48. She was trying to count on her finger under the table to see if he was right and never did finish.
Their obstacle course was every bit as tough as what I had 50 years ago. He also said about 5to6 percent of people do not make it through boot camp. If you do not meet the physical, and mental requirements they wash them out. It seems like in my day they let some pass that should not. And if they did not want to be a Marine they damn sure didn’t want you. some were allowed to quit.
OK for the Crucible, For some reason he was not too talkative about it. There were eight stations they went through. And it was over the 52 hour period and they did not get to eat of sleep much in that time. Each station was named after a Medal Of Honor winner and The recipients citation was on a brass plaquethat they all read out loud after each trial. Each trial had a scenario and a time limit. Out of eight stations his group failed five. Most groups fared the same, the real object was to show them that they had to work together to survive. One involved moving a full 50 gal. drum through water and mud and getting everybody across with it They had only one board and the drum to work with, and did not complete the task in the time allowed.
The other one he described involved trying to get a Humvee tire across a deep mud obstacle. All they had was the tire and a peice of rope. there was a frame in the middle of the mud pit kinda like a door frame. finally my grandson got the idea to throw the rope oven the frame and pull both ends back and tie the rope to the tire and swing each person across on the tire, then untie the tire and proceed on. However by the time he thought of this soultion they did not have enough time left to successfully complete it.
There was no grade on these tests but of course when they failed they were not spoken to in a kind manner by the DI’s or instructors. but they did learn the need to work together as a team.
WE then spent some time comparing war stories of the fun and games of boot camp. Many were similar but those DI”s are creative. Oh by the way DI’s go to a twelve week DI school to learn to be DI”s. Now true DI’s are not allowed to physically hit a recruit. Supposedly not cuss at them (yeah and I can fly). But their language is highly colorful. And my grandson says there are words that sound suspiciously like cursing. Now to the so called stress cards, what the heck are those he asked. Many people think a recruit has a stress card that he can pull and hand to his Di when he gets stressed. Ain’t so says my recruit. And on one of my web sites I have read letters posted by current DI’s who say they do not exist.
Now he related a case in another platoon where a recruit threw his rifle to the ground, The DI yelled at him to pick it up. He threw out his hands and challenged him with “What are you going to do if I don’t?”. where upon the DI hit him in the mouth splitting his upper lip to the bone. This Di received a unacceptable conduct discharge. This is the middle step between Honorable and dishonorable discharge. It will affect his ability to get a job if a employer checks into his background. So they are not allowed to put hands on them, in my day it would have been the recruit who was in trouble, this one was kicked out for his conduct leading to the incident. But the whole battalion was read the results of both hearings and no one else challenged another DI.
Now in another incident three guys in y grandsons platoon were caught smoking in the fire watch office in the middle of the night by the Drill Instructor. These three did not graduate with the platoon. Instead they were put back one month with a newer platoon. Not only were they smoking in the barracks but smoking by recruits are not allowed at all anymore. The platoon they were assigned to will have had their infraction read to them. So all these guys will know these guys are screwups but the Drill Instructors will be extra hard on them. When you screw up in the Marines not only do you jeopardise yourself but they guys around you. And a screwup is not respected or trusted worth a damn.
But all in all I am convinced beyond doubt that they are producing Marines that are well trained and competent to do what they are asked to do if we provide them with the means an motivation to do the job.
A last note before closing, as we were standing at the register to pay the bill, my grandson was approached by a person in another booth who introduced himself as a writer for a local community newspaper. After asking my grandson a few questions he asked if he could interview him later and do a article on him and why he joined the Marines at this time. My grand son agreed but I do not know if he will have time now, half of his leave was canceled yesterday by phone while we were at the range. Naturally he is bummed about that. He has to go back next Tuesday. fourteen days early.
Well if i I sound like a proud grandpa I am.