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You quickly learn in the military that people who are obsessed with their rank are bad news. You know what I’m talking about: the ones who regularly lord their status over you to mask their lack of a natural command presence. The first moment they feel they’ve lost a splinter of control over the house of deception they’ve built, they’re quick to remind you, “I’m a (insert unimpressive ranker here) ___________!”
Status without confidence will bring that out in people. A good leader can control a situation with his actions rather than his authority. The same goes for those who carry certain titles long after they hang up the uniforms that physically represent them.
Clinging on to self-aggrandizing designations doesn’t just make a person look weak. It’s also a reflection of how you treat others who can’t see the titles you deem so important.
I’m a Marine. Well, actually, I’m a civilian. But according to custom I’m a Marine, because I served over a decade ago. I’m about 20 pounds overweight, sport a well-manicured beard, hardly use any military jargon, and have no desire to do anything Marine-related. But I’m a Marine because I was kind of the opposite of all that 10 years ago. Are you following me?
It would be one thing, when the subject of my service comes up, if I could just say, “I’m a former Marine,” “I was a Marine,” or the popularly taboo “I’m an ex-Marine.” Because of Title Justice Warriors, or TJWs, it’s not that simple. Thanks to years of TJW snowflakes eating people alive for not using their favored terminology to refer to one’s past Marine service, those of us who acknowledge that our fighting days are over are left to simply quit giving a shit about title.
It’s certainly not that I’m ashamed of my service. I just think it’s ridiculous that people emphasize title so heavily when it doesn’t represent the whole of someone’s character. Actions do.
I, for one, have begun to rebel against the TJWs. It’s actually much more convenient to call myself a “former Marine” than to go through the whole “Well, yeah, technically I’m a Marine, even though my physical appearance says everything to the contrary” bit. And because I’ve increasingly begun hearing things like “Dude, there’s no such thing as a former Marine. Once a Marine, always a Marine,” it’s that much more fun for me to refer to myself and others as ex-Marines.
Watching people get bent out of shape over something so trivial is hilarious. You didn’t take food off their plate. You didn’t insult their wives. You simply used terminology that threatens their sense of self and they meltdown as a result. You control their time and emotional well-being when they lose their minds over your words. You are, in a sense, their god.
For that matter, I’m going to quit capitalizing Marine at this point. That’s another trivial point and major waste of time. Being a marine is about your training, your ability to destroy the enemy, and your willingness to give your all. It’s way above something as ridiculous as capitalization.
Ex-marines have everything in the world to be proud of regarding their service. It’s the toughest service-wide basic training in the entire armed forces. It’s a branch that is culturally built around high aggression, high tempo, and the type of high haircuts that most people shy away from. It’s also an organization that has won some of the toughest battles in American history. But here we are, left to watch its veterans act like liberal arts students on a trigger bender whenever they don’t hear the precise language they’re looking for.
How about this: You’re a grownup who served honorably. Start with having the confidence to let the small things go and not view people calling you “ex” as a reflection of who you are as a person now. You served as a marine, and no one can take that away. Find comfort in that.
Semper Fi to all the current and ex-marines out there! Thank you for your service.
A Marine grunt stationed in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina is being considered for an award after he saved the lives of three people earlier this month from a fiery car crash.
Cpl. Scott McDonell, an infantry assaultman with 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, was driving down Market Street in Wilmington in the early morning hours of Jan. 11 when he saw a car on fire after it had crashed into a tree. Inside were three victims aged 17, 20, and 20.
"It was a pretty mangled wreck," McDonell told ABC 15. "The passenger was hanging out of the window."
‘I made promises to the people that I lost’— How the Iraq war forged a Navy SEAL’s path to Harvard Medical School and NASA
Navy Lt. Jonny Kim went viral last week when NASA announced that he and 10 other candidates (including six other service members) became the newest members of the agency's hallowed astronaut corps. A decorated Navy SEAL and graduate of Harvard Medical School, Kim in particular seems to have a penchant for achieving people's childhood dreams.
However, Kim shared with Task & Purpose that his motivation for living life the way he has stems not so much from starry-eyed ambition, but from the pain and loss he suffered both on the battlefields of Iraq and from childhood instability while growing up in Los Angeles. Kim tells his story in the following Q&A, which was lightly edited for length and clarity:
New Vietnam War movie 'The Last Full Measure' takes some well-deserved shots at the military’s award process
Todd Robinson's upcoming Vietnam War drama, The Last Full Measure, is a story of two battles: One takes place during an ambush in the jungles of Vietnam in 1966, while the other unfolds more than three decades later as the survivors fight to see one pararescueman's valor posthumously recognized.
With ISIS trying to reorganize itself into an insurgency, most attacks on U.S. and allied forces in Iraq are being carried out by Shiite militias, said Air Force Maj. Gen. Alex Grynkewich, the deputy commander for operations and intelligence for U.S. troops in Iraq and Syria.
"In the time that I have been in Iraq, we've taken a couple of casualties from ISIS fighting on the ground, but most of the attacks have come from those Shia militia groups, who are launching rockets at our bases and frankly just trying to kill someone to make a point," Grynkewich said Wednesday at an event hosted by the Air Force Association's Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies.